JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) – After 180 years, the Jeffboat shipbuilding operation and the jobs that came with it has run its course.
Views of the old cement block buildings with peeling paint will likely soon be a thing of the past. What potentially takes its place has the town talking.
“To imagine what it could be and how we as a community can enjoy it, can find its best and highest value for that property, is very exciting,” One Southern Indiana President Wendy Dant Chesser said. “It has so much potential. And it really will change the image of Jeffersonville and how we use our waterfront.”
To encourage that conversation, American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL) invited the public to review initial findings of a redevelopment study and offer feedback.
Dozens of people packed the Carriage House of the Howard Steamboat Museum to talk about the possibilities and offer input and suggestions about what they’d like to see.
Key questions include how much greenspace will be part of the re-development, and how much access will the public have to the waterfront once the fences come down.
“[I’d like to see] a convention center,” Jeffersonville Pastor Sheiler Stokes said. “If you look around this room tonight, this is a very nice facility, but it’s too small. And practically every facility in Jeffersonville is too small for anything large. We have to take our monies across the bridge and I think that it would be good to keep it on this side.”
“I’ve always wanted to see like a park, like maybe the Jeffersonville’s answer to Waterfront Park in Louisville,” Jeffersonville resident Daniel Boone said. “It’s just something that brings people out, even though it’s not like an investment opportunity, it brings people into the community and it connects the community.”
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore attended the meeting. Before it, he talked to WAVE News about his expectations for the development.
“It’s a gem and it’s a blank canvas,” Moore said. “I’m anxious to see what can be done on the 80 acres overlooking Louisville. But for the people of Jeffersonville, they take ownership in that.”
Representatives from OHM Advisors, a local group hired by ACBL, explained the guiding principles of the project.
Some of those principles include:
– a market-driven plan
– city living
– connecting the community to the riverfront
– walkable environment
– family-friendly development.
The next meeting is planned for April. Members of OHM Advisors said that’s when they plan to talk about the details of the proposal.
Copyright 2023 WAVE. All rights reserved.