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story.lead_photo.caption Rogers officials aim to use a Walton Family Foundation grant to make Frisco Park a central place for community gatherings and trail connectivity. - Photo by Ben Goff

ROGERS -- Frisco Park will become a central place for community gathering and trail connectivity in Rogers, city officials said.

Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program

The Design Excellence Program provides financial support to entities such as school districts; county, state or local governments; and nonprofit organizations intending to develop spaces for public purposes. Money is earmarked for all phases of design work. The Walton Family Foundation awarded $3.6 million to projects in the area’s four largest cities.

Source: Walton Family Foundation

Photo by Ben Goff
Rogers city officials hope Frisco Park will become a central place for community gathering and trail connectivity after the Walton Family Foundation granted the city $805,668 for design services for the park and $1 million for various trail improvements across the city.

The Walton Family Foundation granted the city $805,668 for design services for the historic park and $1 million for various trail improvements across the city.

"When coming up with the downtown master plan, a constant theme with focus groups and market analysis is that there should be an anchor, such as a theme park or aquarium, some main reason to make a trip downtown," said John McCurdy, community development director. "We want to provide an element to draw people."

Though specifics of that central draw aren't finalized, McCurdy said the city hopes Frisco Park will be the location.

Naomi Hashimoto, owner of the Woof and Wander pet supply store at 107 W. Elm St., said she's excited about the changes.

"If it's going to be anything like Guthrie Green that would be awesome," Hashimoto said, referring to the urban park adjacent to the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa that hosts concerts, festivals, markets, fitness classes and other events.

Hashimoto said she appreciates how the programming at Guthrie Green is low-cost or free, sometimes aided by sponsors.

"Anything to energize the area is a positive thing," she said of Rogers' plan for a central, downtown gathering place. "Even if it doesn't bring in business that day, it puts eyes on the community, whether that's a parade or whatever. It makes us known for something, something unique and gives us a chance to throw our energies in the same direction."

Shey Bland, executive director of Main Street Rogers, is looking forward to the programming potential, too.

"I'm interested in how it will reposition the stage and change, acoustically, how the sound is spread around, which is great," Bland said.

As it is, the sun gets in performers' eyes at a certain time of day, she said. A design change to the park will affect both established events, like Frisco Festival, and new ones.

The City Council in late November accepted the grant and began the design firm selection process.

McCurdy said one way to design the space to be more engaging would be to incorporate the east side of the train tracks "to pull people from First Street to Frisco Park, to the Downtown Rogers Farmers Market and beyond."

That effort will require roadwork and making Frisco Park a hub for the trail system, McCurdy said. People will need a way to bike safely from the Rogers Activity Center to the Razorback Greenway, Frisco Park, Lake Atalanta and Pleasant Ridge, he said.

Three firms chosen from a list provided by the Walton Family Foundation will be interviewed during the first quarter of 2018, McCurdy said. Those three have yet to be chosen. One City Council member, a city department head and McCurdy will conduct the interviews, he said.

Construction on the park won't begin until 2019, he said.

Metro on 12/30/2017

Print Headline: Frisco Park envisioned as alluring Rogers hub

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