Fayetteville earns trendsetter award for development of Centennial Park

Spectators crowd the south side of Centennial Park during the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (Flyer photo/Todd Gill)

Fayetteville has been named a 2023 Trendsetter City in the tourism development/creative culture category for larger cities by Arkansas Business.

The distinction is part of the publication’s annual awards program, which recognizes cities for their innovative approaches to improvement and growth.

Fayetteville’s achievement is attributed to the development of Centennial Park, a cycling-activated park designed for both recreational use and hosting championship-level cycling events. The park has gained attention for its role in promoting tourism and recreational activities in the city.

American cyclist Clara Honsinger runs up the staircase during the UCI Cyclocross World Cup race at Centennial Park in Fayetteville on Oct. 13, 2021. (Flyer file photo/Todd Gill)

In 2022, the park hosted the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 2022 Cyclo-Cross World Championships. The event marked only the second time the championship was held in the United States. It attracted 17,500 attendees, featured 219 cyclists from 21 nations, and was broadcast to a global audience, according to a news release. The event’s success underscored Fayetteville’s efforts to create a venue that serves both the local community and attracts international attention.

Centennial Park is noted for its specialized race course, the only one of its kind in Arkansas, and has been praised by the international cycling press.

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan it’s an honor to receive the designation.

“I’m very excited to see our work being held up as an example of how a city can serve its people and attract guests from around the world through a unique, forward-thinking project,” said Jordan.

The city will formally receive the award at the Arkansas Municipal League’s 2024 winter conference, scheduled for Jan. 10-12 in Little Rock.