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ACBL Planning to Repurpose Jeffboat Site

File photo: A newly constructed barge is launched at the Jeffboat yard in Jeffersonville, Ind. (Photo: Jeffboat)

Eric Haun

The city of Jeffersonville, Ind. announced plans are underway to redevelop the shuttered site of one of the nation's oldest, largest and best-known inland shipbuilders.

The city said it is working with the property's owner American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL) to develop a master plan for the 80-acre site along the Ohio Riverfront that was once home to Jeffboat. The southern Indiana shipyard was founded in the 1800s and served as one of Jeffersonville's largest employers until it shut down in 2018 amid a national slowdown in barge construction.

As part of an agreement with ACBL, Jeffersonville's Redevelopment Commission will now fund up to $200,000 for the costs related to OHM Advisors, a firm selected to develop the master plan and determine the best use of the property, the city said last week.

"There's a rich history associated with Jeffboat in our city. But it's now time to write the next chapter in that story, and it starts with a plan to transfer the former shipyard into a catalyst for more growth and development in Jeffersonville," said Mayor Mike Moore. "We have approximately one mile of prime real estate right here in Jeffersonville. The possibilities are limitless."

"ACBL and Jeffboat have been an integral part of the Jeffersonville community for more than a century. Although we closed the Jeffboat shipbuilding facility in 2018 due to tough economic times, we are excited about the redevelopment and repurposing of this site going forward," said Mike Ellis, ACBL CEO. "We believe the end result will be a transformational waterfront mixed use space that ties into the other successes the city of Jeffersonville has completed on the waterfront and surrounding areas."

Earlier this year, ACBL engaged advisory firm The Wheatley Group (TWG) to lead a two-year asset assessment and redevelopment planning process as it prepares the property for its return as a hub of economic activity in the Louisville metropolitan area. Several community engagement meetings will enable residents to weigh in during the master planning process.

"To us, this is more than a project; it is an opportunity to collaboratively work with ACBL and the city to redefine and maximize the 80 acres of waterfront that is storied with deep history and fully matured to serve its next great use for a community," said Rob Huckaby, director of OHM Advisors' Louisville office.

Huckaby said the team will aim to develop a plan that balances private sector economic needs of the property owner with that of the community interests: "We look forward to putting forth a planning process that efficiently gathers public feedback to develop a market driven plan that makes sense."

Sep 21, 2022


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