On a very warm Friday, September 30, 2011, the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge was dedicated. This completed the eastern loop of the Arkansas River Trail as well as created another feature in Clinton Presidential Park.
The ceremony featured remarks by both President Bill Clinton and the incumbent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Chelsea Clinton also took part in the ceremony. Former US Senators (and Arkansas Governors) Dale Bumpers and David Pryor were in attendance as was Jim Guy Tucker who followed Clinton into the Arkansas Governor’s Office. Current Governor Mike Beebe was also present and took part in the ceremony, which was emceed by Stephanie Streett, executive director of the Clinton Foundation. Many other former and current elected officials were present.
In addition to dedicating the bridge, the ceremony officially dedicated the William E. “Bill” Clark Presidential Wetlands which are adjacent to the bridge. City Director Dean Kumpuris joined Clark’s widow, Margaret, and son, William, in the dedication of the wetlands.
This Clinton Presidential Park Bridge is over 2,600 ft. long. It was constructed in 1899 as the Rock Island Bridge. After the Rock Island stopped using the bridge, the lift span was permanently raised. It had to stay this was for the Clinton redevelopment. Therefore a new surface was built that slopingly takes persons from park level up to the span level and back down.
The bridge’s “rusty” structure is complemented by a well-lit 12-18-foot walkway flanked on both sides by silver galvanized steel handrails.
The total investment for this area is over $13.5 million.
Later that weekend, the Clinton Foundation hosted an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Clinton’s announcement that he was seeking the Presidency.