October 8, 2011 by wcobserver
Photos by Dave Holcomb
In 1966 the Arkansas State Highway Commission purchased a little over five acres of land along Highway 71 in Brentwood to build a rest stop and small park along what was then the main route between Fayetteville and Fort Smith.
In 1997, an average of 847 vehicles per day were passing through the rest stop and the location was a popular one with motorists, but after the I-540 bypass opened in 1999 that number dropped to 88, and the Brentwood rest area fell into disuse and disrepair, prey to weather and vandalism.
In 2001 the county, along with the Arkansas Highway Commission, decided to repurpose the facility as a substation of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department. The park was reopened in October of 2002, but the substation was never established. The sheriff’s department nonetheless maintained the park as a rest stop until 2004, but at that time funding issues prompted the county to end the arrangement and close the park for good. Local residents appealed to the Washington County Quorum Court, offering to maintain the park on a volunteer basis. The county agreed to provide work-release labor to maintain the , and on December 9, 2004, the park was reestablished in its present form.