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October 12, 2012

Administration talks the state of Jeffersonville economy

Mayor says business boon will be launched by Big Four Bridge


JEFFERSONVILLE — Big Four used to spur growth

Big Four Station will sit at the foot of the Big Four pedestrian and bicycle bridge that connects Louisville’s Waterfront Park to Jeffersonville.

“I think you’re going to see this Big Four Bridge lure people back to downtown Jeff,” Moore said.

He said the ramp is still on track to be finished by April 1. Following the April completion of the ramp, it will take another eight to 12 months to finish Big Four Station, he said.

“I think when we complete this Big Four ramp, I think all of the sudden you’re going to create a whole new customer base,” Moore said referencing customers coming over the bridge from Louisville.

Those people crossing the walkway over the Ohio River will land in a two-acre park, to which the city did offer some changes in its design.

An early peek at the modifications include changes to a modern obelisk at the foot of the ramp and changes to a pavilion that will house a farmers market, concerts and art exhibitions. The changes will be presented at an upcoming public meeting, but no specific date for the public meeting was given.

Moore said the completion of the Big Four Bridge and Big Four Station “is really going to shake some things up downtown.”

Part of that “shakeup” was directed at the businesses in the city’s historic district along Spring Street as Moore said he would like to change the dynamic of the shops that close at 5 p.m.

Waiz cited the importance of a state grant that will help direct pedestrians to the historic district as it pays for the revitalization of Chestnut Street to Spring Street, creating a corridor for traffic crossing the Big Four Bridge.

“What we want to do is make that a very nice welcome way to bring people to come to our downtown,” he said. “Our downtown is very important. With the Big Four Bridge we can really see a lot of exciting things happening with our downtown.”

Waiz said the vision of Jeffersonville’s downtown historic district is to turn it into the next Bardstown Road or Frankfort Avenue — both walkable main thoroughfares in Louisville lined with shops and restaurants. With the city’s access to both sides of the river, it will improve the walkability of the community.

He added the city will begin offering a restaurant grant program that will give up to $50,000 to restaurants that move into an existing building in Jeffersonville. Another potential change in store for Jeffersonville when the pedestrian bridge opens will be in the housing market.

“I think you’re going to see a huge turnaround in the housing market in downtown Jeff because people want to be able to walk or ride their bike,” Moore said.

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