JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - The city of Jeffersonville said goodbye to one of its most recognizable companies. Monday morning, crews at Jeffboat launched their last barge.
The shipyard has been a riverfront landmark for more than 180 years, employing thousands in the Jeffersonville community.
The announcement of layoffs at Jeffboat came last winter, and the decision to close followed in March. The parent company American Commercial Lines cited an oversupply of barges and d rop in need for services when they announced the closure.
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said this final launch feels like a funeral.
"Jeffboat gave our city a lot of hope and inspiration for generations," Moore said. "You know, when I think back on the history, Jeffboat did more than build barges. They built the city of Jeffersonville."
At its height, Jeffboat had more than 13,000 employees. Moore said the company employed a number higher than Jeffersonville's population at one point.
Jeffboat has been a vital support to the city's economy for decades. But even now, the 65-acre site won't sit empty for long. Moore said they're working with the company and the state to breathe new life into the riverfront spot.
"It's no longer going to be a place where barges get built, but it's going to be a place of significance to the history of Jeff in the future," Moore said. "I'm working with the governor and I'm working with the officials with Jeffboat. And obviously, there's going to be some clean up to the site. What Jeffboat chooses to do with the site is up to them."
Moore confirmed the city will work with Jeffboat on different options and incentives to find a way to clear away the shipyard and make way for something new.