The City of Benton will purchase 511 acres along the Saline River at a cost of $7.6 million, paid over a 10-year period, city officials announced Thursday.
We didn’t go all the way back in the records, but certainly in modern times, this is the biggest purchase.”
This land purchase is the largest single land acquisition in the city’s history, said Matt Thibault, marketing official for the city. Plans for the property, called Benton Thomas Park in a concept plan released by the city Thursday, include soccer fields, an RV park, a swimming pool, ballfields, trails and an indoor soccer and sports facility.
“We didn’t go all the way back in the records, but certainly in modern times, this is the biggest purchase,” he said, both in terms of price and in acreage.
The land is being bought from siblings Jessie Mitchell and James Thomas of Benton in 10 tracts, with the first payment of $904,000 being made Tuesday. Thereafter, the contracts will be signed and the payments made on the first business day of each year, starting in 2024.
Thibault said the payments will be $904,000 a year for five years, then $615,000 a year for the remaining five years.
The property is all undeveloped farm land, Thibault said.
The first tract will be 101 total acres just to the right of Interstate 30 and the Haskell Exit 114.
With future tracts moving north along Highway 229 and the next six tracts east of the Saline River which connects to Lyle Park.
The City of Benton and the A&P Commission will host a contract signing event at 9 a.m. Tuesday on Tract 1, near the Haskell exit 114 off Interstate 30.
The acquisition of this land is a major piece of the Benton 2040 vision. Benton Parks and Recreation department will manage the property, according to a news release from the city.