Bentonville, AR workshop will inform the city’s comprehensive plan update

Smart Growth America staff lead a technical assistance workshop in Bentonville, AR. Photo courtesy of the City of Bentonville.

Smart Growth America traveled to Bentonville, AR on April 1 and 2, 2015, to hold a workshop for city staff on “Planning for Economic and Fiscal Health.” The workshop, which was part of our 2015 free technical assistance program, was designed to help Bentonville plan for development in ways that support long term prosperity.

Bentonville is just beginning the process of updating the city’s comprehensive plan, which will guide development in the city for years to come. City officials will use what they learned in this month’s workshop to inform their work on the comprehensive plan moving forward. Bentonville was one of just 14 communities nationwide awarded a free workshop as part of this competitive program.

“We are honored that Smart Growth America appreciates the efforts made in Bentonville over the last few years and recognizes its potential for future growth,” said Mayor Bob McCaslin. “This workshop will be a valuable asset as we begin the process of preparing a city comprehensive plan this summer.”

Bentonville residents joined the workshop’s first day for an introductory presentation that provided an overview of the fiscal and economic impacts of different development patterns. The presentation focused on how a smart growth approach to development could benefit Bentonville’s economy and the city’s finances.

The second day of the workshop brought together an invited group of stakeholders from the City Council, public schools, planning commission, board of adjustment, economic development department, planning department, and public works department, as well as representatives from local businesses and nonprofits. Smart Growth America’s staff delivered a more in-depth presentation to these invited guests, and facilitated brainstorming sessions to help participants identify priorities for the city in coming years and understand how different development strategies could help the city achieve those goals.

Workshop Materials:

Bentonville is one of 14 communities nationwide selected to receive one of Smart Growth America’s 2015 free technical assistance workshops. Stretching from Florida to Washington State, these 14 communities represent major cities, suburban centers, and rural towns alike. The program, made possible through a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities, seeks to develop local planning solutions that help communities grow in ways that benefit families and businesses, while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place. One other nonprofit organization—Project for Public Spaces— currently has an active grant this year to help communities get the kinds of development they want.

Want to bring Smart Growth America’s experts to your town? Learn more about our community workshops >>

Technical assistance