Razorback Regional Greenway To Celebrate Grand Opening

A cyclist heads south on the Razorback Regional Greenway near Lake Fayetteville Friday

Staff photo

When planning for the Razorback Regional Greenway began back in 2000, a dedicated trail that spanned the entire Northwest Arkansas corridor from Fayetteville to Bella Vista seemed almost too good to be true for local cyclists and pedestrians.

A new section of the Razorback Greenway in Downtown Springdale

Now 15 years later, that trail is about to become a reality. The Razorback Regional Greenway is set to officially open on Saturday, May 2.

The project was envisioned by the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission as a way to create a “spine” connecting the existing trail systems already being developed in cities across the region.

The $38 million dollar project was paid for through a federal transportation grant, a matching grant and gift from the Walton Family Foundation, and through resources provided by The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission and the cities of Fayetteville, Johnson, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville, and Lowell.

“I call it the extraordinary partnership, because that is what it is,” said John McLarty of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission. “It really is remarkable the amount of people that came together to make this a reality.”

The Greenway begins on Frisco Trail at Walker Park in south Fayetteville, and then winds north through the city, before passing Lake Fayetteville near the Springdale city limits. From there, it passes through downtown Springdale, north through Lowell and Rogers before heading through downtown Bentonville, past Crystal Bridges, and into Bella Vista.

In all, the trail spans 37 miles from one end of Northwest Arkansas to the other.

Northwest Arkansas Council trails coordinator Misty Murphy said the last of the pavement was laid more than a month ago, and that all the finishing touches should be in place by May 2. A new traffic signal in Lowell, along with some fencing and landscaping are about the only things left to complete.

The trail runs along a creek in Springdale

“You can pretty much ride it now, but there may be closings here and there between now and May 2 for finishing and repairs,” she said. “After that, though, it will be fully open.”

A grand opening celebration is planned all day May 2 to commemorate the occasion with a full day of events at various locations along the trail.

The fun kicks off in Bentonville with a group ride from the Downtown Activity Center toward downtown Springdale at 9 a.m. In Rogers, mayor Greg Hines will read a proclamation at 9:30 a.m., and riders will join the group from Bentonville and head toward Springdale for the grand opening ceremony.

Riders will depart from Fayetteville at 9:45 a.m. after a proclamation by Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan.

Another way to arrive at the ceremony in style is to ride on the Arkansas Missouri Railroad. A train will pick up passengers (and their bikes) at stops on Dickson Street in Fayetteville and the depot in Rogers, and will give free rides to the ribbon cutting ceremony in Springdale. Ozark Regional Transit will also shuttle passengers and bikes for free to the event.

Murphy said attendees can expect a festival atmosphere for the Springdale grand opening, with food trucks, vendor booths, and bike shops set up to offer repairs, tips, and to air up tires for those who need it. Folks who complete the entire 37-mile ride on opening day (and can prove it with an app like “Map My Ride” or “Strava”) can get a free t-shirt at the event as well.

Also that day, Team Springdale will kick off their taco tour, and Youth Strategies will be serving BBQ, Murphy said.

The official grand opening ceremony will begin at noon in the Shiloh Square in downtown Springdale, with a ribbon cutting and remarks by local leaders.

McClarty said that he expects the mayors or representatives from all six partner cities to be in attendance, and invites have also been sent to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas transportation representatives, congressmen, and other local leaders.

For more information about the Razorback Greenway, including an interactive map, visit nwatrails.org.

Razorback Greenway Grand Opening Celebration

Bentonville City Kickoff
Time: 9 a.m.
Location: Downtown Activity Center (DAC)
Info: Will include a group ride from the DAC to the grand opening event in Springdale

Rogers City Kickoff
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: Mercy Trailhead
Info: Will include a mayoral proclamation and group ride from the Mercy Trailhead. Riders will join with Bentonville riders for trip into Springdale for grand opening event

Fayetteville City Kickoff
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: Dickson Street near the Depot
Info: Will include a mayoral proclamation and a city-led ride to downtown Springdale

B Cycle Demo Station
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Downtown Springdale
Info: Northwest Arkansas residents will experience how bike share programs work. Users can borrow a B Cycle bike for a short ride on the trail.

Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting and speeches
Time: Noon
Location: Downtown Springdale
Info: A ribbon cutting ceremony, and remarks by local dignitaries

Guided History Walks
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Various Locations
Info: Representatives from the Shiloh Museum of History will give guided history walks along the trail at various locations.

Guided Horticulture Walks
Time: 3 p.m.
Location: Various Locations
Info: Guided horticulture walks will be given along the trail at various locations.

Video: The Northwest Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway

This article is sponsored by First Security Bank. For more great stories of Arkansas food, travel, sports, music and more, visit onlyinark.com.