With a grant from the Walton Family Foundation, the City of Rogers, Arkansas embarked on a project to re-center their downtown with a new park that enhances economic development, spurs placemaking, and improves connectivity. Situated on the east boundary of Rogers’ historic downtown district, the new park has the potential to capitalize on recent public space investments and help to make downtown Rogers a regional destination.
The project utilized a vigorous community outreach effort, which helped build a sense of ownership and pride from city staff and residents. Through a digital survey that collected over 1,000 responses and in-person charrettes the design team helped define the park’s desired outcomes and objectives through the words of the community. This shared vision resulted in five priorities: Inviting, Memorable, Challenging, Beautiful, and Authentic.
Rogers, has been defined both economically and physically by the railroad that created a strong dividing line in the center of downtown. The park’s design ignores the rail as a barrier and blends the east and west together. The result is a series of plazas that transform throughout the day, week, month, and year. These versatile and flexible spaces create a new and distinct rhythm that extends beyond the park into adjacent streets.
These densely vegetated and programmed spaces help create unique experiences throughout the park and frame this piece of downtown as the new center instead of the edge.