It took an innovative collaboration between local city governments, the Northwest Arkansas Planning Commission, University of Arkansas and the Walton Family Foundation to make the Razorback Greenway a reality. Here is the history of how it became the most recognizable and frequently used public amenity in Northwest Arkansas:
The concept of a regional greenway began with the vision of many regional planners, cities and individuals to improve quality of life for all who live in or visit Northwest Arkansas.
The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission (NWARPC) began a long-range planning process, which included using existing regional trails as a key component. A task force was formed, and the NWARPC conducted public meetings to facilitate the coordinated effort among the NWA communities.
Fayetteville voters approved dedicated funding of $2.1 million for trail construction.
Frisco and Scull Creek Trails are completed, creating five miles of north-south trails in Fayetteville.
The NWARPC received $30 million in private and public grants to develop, design, and construct the inaugural miles of the Razorback Regional Greenway. Then, federal funding was secured to construct approximately 18 more miles of connecting trail.
The original 37 miles were officially dedicated. The trail system now connected 19 existing, holistic, shared-use paved trails into one Greenway spanning from South Fayetteville to Bella Vista.
Four more miles were added to the Razorback Greenway to round its distance out to 40 miles total, with “Mile 0” beginning at Kessler Mountain Regional Park in Fayetteville and winding through the communities of Johnson, Springdale, Lowell, Rogers and Bentonville before ending at “Mile 40,” which reaches Mercy Way Bridge in Bella Vista.
Today the Razorback Greenway links dozens of popular destinations across Washington and Benton counties, including seven downtown areas, three major hospitals, 23 schools, the University of Arkansas, and the corporate headquarters of Walmart, J.B. Hunt Transport Services and Tyson Foods.