Food truck court with trail connection approved by Centennial Park

Source: City of Fayetteville

A post-ride meal should be easier to come by once a new food truck court is open at the base of Centennial Park in Fayetteville.

The Planning Commission on Monday voted unanimously to approve plans for the Trails on Shiloh, a 10-acre development that’s set to include an area for a half-dozen mobile food vendors, as well as a parking lot and a trail connection to the new cycling-focused park off Shiloh Drive.

The in-construction park sits atop Millsap Mountain and includes 228 acres that the city bought in 2018 using a grant and loan from the Walton Family Foundation. Once complete, it will include mountain bike, cyclocross and trail running facilities, as well as a variety of other features. In all, about 11 miles of trail are planned at the park, including the 2-mile, beginner-level loop that opened last month.

The mountaintop was also selected as the site of the Cyclocross World Championships in 2022. It will be just the second time the United States has ever hosted the event, which was first held in 1950 in Paris, France.

Preliminary plans for the Trails on Shiloh also include a 10,000-square-foot lawn that could be used for occasional events. A detention pond and associated landscaping are also a part of the plans.

Source: City of Fayetteville

The applicant requested two variances to the city’s development design requirements.

The first variance would allow the portion of the site where food trucks will operate to be surfaced with gravel instead of the standard required asphalt, semi-permeable pavers or concrete. City planning staff were in favor of the request and said they believe with only foot traffic on the gravel area, it’s unlikely that gravel would be tracked out across the parking lot and onto Shiloh Drive which is usually what happens when vehicles travel out of a gravel area.

Commissioner Leslie Belden agreed.

“I really respect the applicant wanting – and the staff agreeing to – the gravel area,” Belden said. “It’s a more alive surface that water can go through instead of just asphalt that soaks up heat and radiates it and doesn’t let the water through.”

With so much of the remainder of the property remaining in its natural state, Belden said the request for a gravel food truck area was a “no-brainer.”

The second variance would allow for some parking spaces to be deeper than city codes allow. Current requirements state that all 90-degree spaces have a depth of 19 feet, but the applicant asked to expand some spaces to between 20 and 22 feet to accommodate larger vehicles with bike racks.

Commissioner Matt Hoffman liked the idea. He said the bike rack on his vehicle had been pulled off by another vehicle before when he was parked in an area with a shallow parking space.

“I’m glad to see that level of thought has been put into this,” Hoffman said.

Commissioner Kris Paxton said the project is an interesting idea for the property.

“It’s almost like a trailhead concept, which is a really unique use for a difficult-to-develop area,” said Paxton.

The biggest obstacle for developing along Shiloh Drive, he said, is that it’s a one-way road.

“This gives a really good reason to access that area,” said Paxton. “I’m excited to see a connection that will bring the park to life a little bit, allow a place for people to park and maybe enjoy the mobile vending that’s at that location.”