Former Jeffboat site auctioning off equipment, city looks to future for riverfront spot

Owners of Jeffboat auction off equipment and items left behind

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - More than one year ago, Jeffboat launched its final barge into the Ohio River. After a year of the site sitting silent, now the owners are auctioning off the equipment and items left behind.

The riverfront spot used to be constantly packed full with barges and equipment, ready to create sea-worthy vessels. A year after launching its final barge, the former Jeffboat site has an empty gloom hanging heavy around the massive riverfront property. That gloom, starting to lift this week as Plant & Machinery Inc. come into the area, auctioning off all the equipment and items that remained behind.

“Just about anything you would need to build a barge,” said Ron Moore, Plant & Machinery Inc. President.On Wednesday, more than 600 pieces of big equipment like burning and welding machines will be sold, everything from working equipment to antiques, and even some unusual finds.

“I’ll tell you what. I had never seen one before until I took my tour yesterday. We have a virtual welding machine,” he said.

They’ll get an earlier start here Thursday, selling twice as many items. The doors will open at Jeffboat at 8 a.m. to the public, the auction beginning at 9 a.m. and halting once they run out of items to sell.

“But with 1,200 or 1,300 items to sell, it’s going to be a long day,” Ron Moore said.

With Jeff Boat’s barge making days behind them and the pieces that remained behind here on the riverfront now being sold at auction, the city of Jeffersonville is considering what they’d like to see happen here on the riverfront property.

“We could do a whole lot with 65 acres. You know, let’s get the grounds out, the paper out and lets start coloring something beautiful,” said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore.

The city doesn’t own the property, at least not yet. They’d like to buy at least some of the former Jeffboat site.

Mayor Moore said he’d like to see new housing and businesses go up here as well as something for the community that everyone can enjoy.

“Let’s make it friendly for everybody in the city,” Mayor Moore said.

Businesses along the riverfront said they’d like to see greenspace, new trails. Some, simply hoping for the city to clear away equipment and fencing for a riverfront view. Moore said they’d want to move forward with any developments here slowly, finding something that benefits the city and those living here for decades to come.

“I think this is something, you know, when you look ahead, what is the vision of Jeffersonville, this site is going to be at the front of what we’re doing,” Mayor Moore said.

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