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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/BEN GOFF @NWABENGOFF Cal Deck of Bentonville rides on the All-American trail Friday near Compton Gardens in Bentonville. The All-American runs generally parallel to the hard-surface Crystal Bridges Trail portion of the the Razorback Greenway and serves as an entry to the Slaughter Pen mountain bike trail system from downtown Bentonville.

BENTONVILLE -- The Parks and Recreation Department is giving the community an opportunity to speak on the development of the city's new Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan today at a public meeting.

The meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Bentonville Community Center, 1101 S.W. Citizens Circle, and will include an informal environment in which people can speak one-on-one with city representatives and the plan's steering committee about the development of Bentonville's hard surface trail system, said David Wright, Parks and Recreation director.

The plan for the city's some 35 miles of hard surface trails was updated in 2015, he said, adding the city is at the end of the plan's life cycle and must address the future of the trail system.

Wright said establishing a committee was the first step in developing the plan, which will rely significantly on community input to be effective.

"That steering committee is to keep the city and the consultants accountable to make sure that what the citizens are really saying is what we're really creating," he said, explaining the committee consists of people who use the trail system. "That steering committee is really the foundation of it truly being a citizen-driven plan."

The city is working with Toole Design engineering firm to help make the community's vision a reality.

"For Bentonville, we are developing a bicycle and pedestrian master plan that will provide a framework for a connected network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities that will support increased usage through a high-comfort or low-stress environment," said Ernie Boughman, Toole's southeastern operations director.

He said the meeting is an opportunity for residents to influence development of the trails.

"We are coming to the public at the very outset of the project, because we want to receive direction from the public on how this plan should be developed," he said. "No decisions have been made, so now is a great time to tell us what is important to you personally and to the city of Bentonville as a whole."

Craig Gilbert serves on the steering committee and routinely uses the trails with his wife and 12-year-old son.

"There are so many amenities in Bentonville now, and these beautiful trails are a great way to get to them," Gilbert said. "Actually, just the trails themselves are fantastic."

He encourages interested residents to attend the meeting to provide input on the future of the trail system.

"I think we have to engage our community and citizens of Bentonville," Gilbert said. "We're 50,000 strong now, and I think we all need to take advantage of the opportunities to voice our thoughts and opinions and advice on how we should actually move forward with this plan."

Public Meeting

The Bentonville Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan public meting will be from 6 from 8 p.m. Monday at the Bentonville Community Center, 1101 S.W. Citizens Circle.

Source: Staff report

NW News on 06/24/2019

Print Headline: Bentonville seeks public input on trail development

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