The Walton Family Foundation calls attention today to its plan to focus resources the next five years on development of public buildings and spaces in Washington and Benton Counties.

It’s called the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program and this website link tells more about it.

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Projects announced for the new intiative so far:

* A  51,500-square-foot performance arts space for TheatreSquared in downtown Fayetteville.

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* A 28,000-square-foot adaptive reuse facility for the Rogers Historical Museum in downtown Rogers. It will use a former auto dealership building shown above, purchased recently from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

* A new 35,000-square-foot facility and half-acre playground for the Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center in Bentonville.

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This only touches, of course, on Walton-related spending in the area on the likes of Crystal Bridges, the new children’s museum, the new amphitheater, arts center spending and more.

Said Karen Minkle, director of foundation spending in the Walton “home region”:

Through this program, the foundation will provide financial support to entities such as school districts; county, state or local municipalities; and nonprofit organizations that intend to develop space for public purposes.

As our region continues to grow, we want to extend a challenge to our partners: to think creatively and boldly about how design can complement and enhance our existing urban fabric.