The City of Benton paid for the first installment in a major land deal on March 14 at an event hosted by the city on Tract 1 at 9 a.m. This began the largest land purchase in the modern history of the city, consisting of 511 acres of land along the Saline River.
The purchase will be made in 10 installments over a span of 10 years. The first five of these installments will be $904,000 each, and the remaining five will be $615,000 each for a total of approximately $7.6 million.
The land in question is being purchased from the Thomas family of Benton.
“We first began [the] discussion with the Thomas family over a year ago, when they told us that they were not interested in selling,” Benton Mayor Tom Farmer told AMP. “But after much prayer and discussion of what this could mean for future generations, we have arrived where we are at today with the purchase of the Thomas property.
“I was visiting with Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, sitting around their dinner table, looking at the conceptual drawing of section one of the property. And they shared with me that, through many prayers, they felt that the best decision was to sell the property to the city.”
The purchase is a major piece of the city’s Parks 2040 vision, which was proposed in 2020 to open underutilized natural resources to public access and recreation. The newly-purchased Tract 1, covering 101 acres near Interstate 30, will be used to extend the city’s park system and establish a new RV park. The eventual goal of the project is to create a biking and hiking loop around the entire city.
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