Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette – “Park Getting New Look”

The City of Rogers Arkansas and Ross Barney Architects reveal design for Walton Family Foundation funded park.

“A redesigned and renamed Frisco Park will include a new stage and seating for 800 to 1,000 people, additional greenspace and an apple orchard, among other renovations.

The city plans to rename the downtown park Railyard Park and start construction in the spring of 2019, spokesman Ben Cline said.

‘We thought about a name for the park a long time, and eventually we said, ‘It’s really obvious. This is the Railyard Park.’ We stole the Frisco logo, and we made it ours,’ said Carol Ross Barney, principal architect at Ross Barney Architects in Chicago.

The Walton Family Foundation gave the city an $805,668 grant for design services last year, and Ross Barney Architects released their plans last week.

Plans show the park spanning both sides of the railroad tracks and include an apple orchard, multiple play areas, open greenspace, a gathering area, water towers, the farmer’s market and event space. Cline said the estimated $6 million renovation project will be paid for using money from the $299.5 million bond voters approved in August. The bond issue included $41 million for parks and recreation.

‘What we’d like to do is convert it to something that is more flexible that can be used for a concert,’ Ross said of what will be called Butterfield Stage. ‘We’re looking to seat between 800 and 1,000 people in the shade so it’s not the AMP, but it’s the next thing down. It’s filling this gap in this area.’

The Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers seats about 10,000 people.

The stage at Frisco Park is Frisco Stage and runs parallel to First Street. When there are events on stage, people tend to stand in the street, said John McCurdy, community development director.

‘We want the park to be so iconic that you can say, ‘Meet me at the Gathering,’ for example, or ‘Meet me at the Waterstop,’ and people will know where that is rather than just at the Railyard Park,’ she said.

Railyard is intended to be a place where people of all ages could go, whether they want to play, read, eat or just sit, said Jim White, parks and recreation director.

The park will have a picnic area with long community tables where anyone can sit and a pop-up plaza for art events, Ross said.

‘We’d like to turn the park into not just the center of downtown historic Rogers, but also an intermodal center, so we’d like to bring your current bus routes here,’ Barney said.

Rogers was established in 1881 and was named after Capt. C.W. Rogers, general manager for the St. Louis and San Francisco ‘Frisco’ Railroad, according to the city’s website. Frisco Park was where trains would be loaded and unloaded, so the park has existed for basically as long as the city has, McCurdy said.

In addition to Frisco Stage, Frisco Park has benches, a pavilion, picnic tables, a playground and a farmer’s market. It is the center of the annual Frisco Festival.

The Railyard Park will help bring together the east and west sides of Rogers, McCurdy said. The designs are final.”

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