A dedication ceremony will be held Thursday to mark the completion of the final phase of the Lake Saracen Walking Trail. The trail circles Lake Saracen in Pine Bluff and is about five miles longs. The walking trail project has been split into eight phases and its construction began in 2009. The dedication ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16, near the Lake Saracen Splash Park.

Joy Blankenship is chairman of the Lake Saracen Project Association and is one of the people overseeing the construction of the trail along with the City of Pine Bluff. She said the construction project cost between $750,000 and $800,000. About 80 percent of the money came from federal government sources and 20 percent came from city of Pine Bluff sources.

The eighth phase of the trail stretches from the former George Washington Carver School at Linden Street to the Saracen Landing building. The eighth phase added sidewalks between Linden Street and the Lake Saracen Splash Park.

“It is a place where our citizens can come and walk safely,” Blankenship said. “It is a safe place to walk, run and bike. You see the birds, and the beauty that comes with lakes.”

The final phase came from the Economic and Community Development Department via grants for federal highway funding through the Arkansas Department of Transportation, Blankenship said.

“We will have signs on three locations on the trail so people will know how many miles it is from that location to a next point,” Blankenship said. “You can run, walk and bike on this trail.”

The trail is closed to motor vehicles.

The trail came into existence through a collaboration among the Lake Saracen Project Association, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District, the city of Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, the Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Department, the Southeast Arkansas Regional Planning Department, and Pine Bluff Economic and Community Development Department.

This project was engineered by Little Rock-based McClelland Consulting Engineers.