$315 million to develop 6,000-acre park, with focus on North End
JEFFERSONVILLE (April 16, 2019) – River Ridge Commerce Center has become one of the largest economic-development magnets for the Louisville-Southern Indiana region, but officials expect continued investments in the business park to attract tens of thousands of additional jobs and millions of additional dollars annually in tax revenue. To that end, the River Ridge Development Authority (RRDA) estimates the park must invest more than $315 million over the next two decades to complete infrastructure improvements at the park to prepare parcels for development.
Currently, River Ridge is home to more than 50 businesses employing nearly 10,000 workers. A 2018 economic impact study found that businesses at River Ridge generated more than $39 million in local and state revenue in 2018.
During River Ridge’s monthly meeting on Monday, Executive Director Jerry Acy discussed additional infrastructure and investment needs at the park, particular on the North End near Charlestown, Ind. Acy noted that much of the current private development in the 6,000-acre business park has occurred along Ind. 62 and to the south of the park, near Ind. 265 and Jeffersonville.
“The Charlestown section on the North End is where the bulk of our heavy lifting remains,” Acy said. “There are more than 1,000 structures from the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant that still must be removed, and we are already adding infrastructure like roads, sewers and water to bring new employers into that area.”
In addition to structures that must be removed, the area also features:
- An extensive railroad network that requires updates for modern rail usage;
- An inundation of invasive plant species that are costly to clear;
- Relatively flat land with some steep ravines;
- Karst areas that must be preserved or mitigated.
RRDA has taken several actions to prepare for additional development on the North End of the park, and those continued this month. The Authority approved a resolution for a design contract to extend its transmission water main to the North End of the park. The construction project would include more than 1 mile of 16-inch water main and six fire hydrants.
The board approved a lump sum contract not to exceed $72,900 for HWC Engineering to design the extension, including topographic survey, geotechnical engineering, preparation and filing of easements, engineering design, permitting and bidding services, and construction administration. The board also approved awarding a $426,475 contract to HCL for demolition and removal of a blending tower in the North End of the commerce center.
In recent months, the RRDA has approved several contracts to remove structures on the North End of the park, projects to extend roads to that area and construction of a new entrance off Ind. 62, near Charlestown. In all, the Authority has invested nearly $12 million in the Charlestown section in recent years to prepare for development
An estimated $215 million in additional investments are required in the Charlestown area, and about $100 million in investments are needed in other parts of the park, Acy said.
“We have a lot of work on the North End, but there’s also a lot of opportunity there,” Acy said. “Once the roads, water mains and other infrastructure are in place, we’re confident this will be a popular place for large employers to locate and benefit the entire region.”