The 110-acre 8th Street Gateway Park is a new center for community recreation and urban nature for Bentonville and a beginner mountain bike destination for Northwest Arkansas.


8th Street Gateway Park

Bentonville, AR
PORT was selected by the City of Bentonville and the Walton Family Foundation Design Excellence Program to plan, design and implement the City’s new 110-acre 8th Street Gateway Park. The new park enhances Bentonville’s ecological resources and is the western anchor of the City’s planned 25-mile greenway loop and open space network. The design combines active and passive recreation venues, including a large public gathering space known as The Porch, a variety of mountain bike skills trails, enhanced meadows and flood plains, and a newly reconstructed 8th Street. The overall plan for the park organizes the site into three principal sub-areas of approximately 25-35 acres each. These include the neighborhood-oriented West Park; the mountain bike- and watershed-focussed East Park; and the regional civic destination of the Park Core.
Mobility Engineer: Toole Design
Advising Architect: Polk Stanley Wilcox
Structural Engineer: Apex Engineers
Civil Engineer: Ecological Design Group
Ecology + Restoration: Ecological Design Group
Playground Consultant: Studio Ludo
MEP: Prigm
Skatepark: California Skateparks

2022 PA-DE ASLA Merit Award
2020 AIA Philadelphia Honor Award

Landscape Planning + Design
Landscape Architecture

Project Logic

The design response to the highly segmented existing site unifies the individual parcels through a clearly structured primary circulation framework (multi-use circuit), while maintaining and enhancing the unique existing character — woodland, meadow, and floodplain — of the three principal park zones.

Framework Plan

The framework plan divides the site into three park sub-areas — the West Park, East Park, and Park Core. Each has its own unique identity, is defined by a discrete set of programs and landscape characteristics, and is anchored by  park landings — concentrated areas of arrival, structured program, and extensive planting.

Hydrology + Planting

Located at the headwaters of the Elk River Watershed, 8th Street Gateway Park will filter stormwater runoff from adjacent urbanized parts of Bentonville. The enhancements to site hydrology will not just be performative, but experiential and educational as well.

Gateway Ring Overview

The Gateway Ring provides an elevated crossing over 8th Street at two points to allow pedestrian movement between the north and south sections of East Park. Both ends of each bridge spring from new landscape berms, establishing a visual band that arcs through the landscape.
Gateway Ring + Soft Trails: New mountain bike trails weave throughout, with a concentration of signature trails north of 8th Street.

Park Core Overview

Flanking the west side of Melissa Drive, just south of 8th Street, is the Park Core Landing (a.k.a. The Yard). This is the most developed and heavily programmed portion of the park.
Arrival Plaza + Pavilion:  The pavilion defines an “outdoor room” while still maintaining both visual and physical connections to the primary gathering spaces: the Entry Grove to the north, the Flex Plaza to the south, and the Destination Playground to the west.
Destination Playground: The one acre playground provides inclusive play for users of all ages; encourages mental, physical, social, and emotional health; and emphasizes the use of natural materials.

8th Street Gateway Park will contribute to Bentonville’s exceptional quality of life through the enhancement of four interrelated aspects of the park: play, connectivity, ecology, and community.

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