JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - In the years since the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant stopped production in southern Indiana, a new era of business has taken over.
The River Ridge business park has become a destination, bringing in big companies and better jobs to the community. Continuing that growth will take a significant investment from the River Ridge Development Authority in future years.
Off Highway 62 between Jeffersonville and Charlestown, the view of River Ridge’s property continues to change.
With its lease with the army now fulfilled, crews can now tear down what remains of the old ammunition plant. It’s a massive undertaking, but they need to get the work done so developers can move into the area.
“We have to basically demo, demolish, all the old buildings and structures, utility lines and rebuild from the ground up,” Jerry Acy, River Ridge Development Authority Executive Director, said.
So far, they’ve only developed about 1,200 of River Ridge’s 6,000 acre stretch. Cleaning up the remains of the plant and creating new infrastructure for new businesses to move in takes time, but the growth coming to the community is lasting.
“The growth of the city, a lot of it is because of River Ridge, a lot of it is because of the bridges that have come into the city," Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said. "We’re catching up, trying to stay ahead with all the infrastructure improvements on 10th Street and Holmans Lane and River Ridge is doing the same.”
River Ridge says it will need to invest $315 million over the next two decades to develop those unused acres for future use. That funding will come from land sales and other park revenues.
“Looking back on how long it’s taken us to get to where we are now and having developed around 30 percent of the property, it’s pretty easy projection to look and see that it will probably take 15 to 20 years, unless there’s some major, major mega-site development that comes along,” Acy said.
Every business moving in bolsters the economy in Jeffersonville and the region.
“Today we’re 10,000 jobs on site and total labor income that’s generated from River Ridge is about $500 million a year that goes back into the local economy,” Acy said.
Moore added: “We have international companies who have landed here, families have moved here because of the jobs. And these aren’t $10, $12-an-hour jobs, these are careers.”
River Ridge hopes to have another 1,000 acres developed and ready for new businesses in the next five years. With so much space, Acy said the potential here is just starting to be tapped.
“We’re really looking forward to the future,” Acy said.