What's New for 2024 in Northwest and North Central Arkansas
Parking deck clears way for new public park
The City of Fayetteville has opened a new parking deck in its downtown entertainment district. Located at the northwest corner of Dickson Street and West Avenue, the deck replaces the surface-level parking lot across the street, which is currently being developed into a public park.
The park is the second phase within the creation of a cultural arts corridor called The Ramble. The park and civic plaza will be a central hub and gathering spot for residents and tourists. Plans call for art gardens, trails, water running the length of the space and areas for picnics, kids at play and events. A new hotel will also anchor one end of the park.
The lower Ramble has already been developed and includes the Fay Jones Woods featuring a forest, trails, boardwalks, tree-lined sidewalks, terraced creeks and gathering spaces.. The 50-acre outdoor corridor follows the Razorback Regional Greenway from Dickson Street to Prairie Street.
The Ramble is named as a nod to Arkansas-born musician and actor Levon Helm. As a former member of The Band, Helm hosted Midnight Ramble sessions in a barn on his property in Woodstock, New York. The historic Fay Jones Woods space is an homage to well-known architect and Fayetteville resident Fay Jones.
New breweries on the Fayetteville Ale Trail
The has added several new breweries, bringing the total up to 24 locations. The Fayetteville Ale Trail, which is a self-guided tour of craft breweries, started in 2013 with seven breweries located in Fayetteville, the birthplace of craft beer culture in Northwest Arkansas.
Fayetteville now has nine craft breweries. Immensely popular, the Ale Trail has expanded to include other brewery stops (and one cidery) in the nearby cities of Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville, Lowell, Eureka Springs, Gravette and Siloam Springs. Even more breweries are expected to open soon, so expect these numbers to change as the Northwest Arkansas beer scene continues to develop.
The Fayetteville Ale Trail has passports that can be redeemed for prizes. There is no cost to participate, and those interested can pick up a Fayetteville Ale Trail passport at the at 21 S. Block Ave. on the Fayetteville downtown square. Passports are also available at any of the participating breweries, and stamps can be collected at each location. Completed passports can be mailed or brought to the Visitors Center for a free prize.
Here are the breweries participating in the Fayetteville Ale Trail:
Fort Smith is home to a new baseball league
Fort Smith has been selected as one of six team locations for the newly formed Mid America League, a premium baseball development league. Teams are expected to play ball beginning in May of 2024 and will initially be from Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
The league will have a 68-game schedule with playoffs to determine a champion. The new league was created by Lawrence, Kansas-based National Sports Services and Ventura Sports Group. A Fort Smith team owner or owner group has not yet been named. Public input will help select a team name.
According to Mid America, the team selection is from regions with at least 100,000 population “with a solid business base, and will initially play in a combination of municipal and university facilities.”
Initially, the Fort Smith team will likely play on the baseball field of the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. The league will work with the owner or owners group to have a stadium ready by May 2026.
More information can be found here: www.midamericaleaguebaseball.com.
YT Industries Experience Center
In 2023, announced that a new “YT Mill” will be opening in Bentonville, Arkansas in early 2024. Following the success of the YT Mill consumer experience centers in San Clemente, CA, Surrey Hills UK, and Hausen, Germany, YT Industries will open a new flagship Mill in the heart of the OZ Trails mountain bike network in Northwest Arkansas.
The immersive, two-floor showroom to be located at 305 N. Main St. in downtown Bentonville will showcase the entire range of YT mountain bikes, host community events, and feature a unique rider’s lounge area with pre- and post-ride beverages and entertainment. A pro-level workshop will allow YT customers to get their bikes built, set up, and serviced onsite. For more information visit www.yt-industries.com.