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December 23, 2012

River Ridge reflects on eventful year

Manufacturing company looks to build at commerce center

JEFFERSONVILLE — River Ridge Development Authority hosted its last meeting of 2012 in what River Ridge Development Authority Board President Mark Robinson called it an “exceedingly productive year.”  

River Ridge Executive Director Jerry Acy said the year end results showed revenues from land sales totaled about $1.8 million, with another two sales pending.

“That will be another million [dollars] plus, and potentially one other land sale to add to that, hopefully in the early part of next year,” he said.

Along with the land sales, new tax assessments on lease property boosted revenues for River Ridge. Acy said the development authority is  looking at generating another $330,000 in Tax Increment Finance revenues associated with the new property tax assessments.

NEW COMPANY

There has also been an uptick in interest at River Ridge Commerce Center that is likely to roll into next year. Acy said there are more businesses looking for sites with 15 distinct projects and six active projects. During Monday’s board meeting, he was granted approval to negotiate another deal to bring a new tenant to the commerce center.

Acy said the new project that the development authority is working on would sell 25 acres at a site off of Trey Street — behind Amazon’s distribution center and north of two sites recently approved for development with Mr. “P” Express Inc. and America Place Business Park.

“It would be a stand-alone company, a manufacturing company,” he said.

However, Acy would not name the company as he said River Ridge is bound by a confidentiality agreement. He added that hopefully, a purchase agreement on the property will be in place by the spring when the company could begin construction.

SHIPPING NEWS

Of course, the major project completed in 2012 at River Ridge was the development of the Amazon.com Inc. distribution center that opened this fall. The location of Amazon at River Ridge has spurred business interest in the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, along with the approval of plans to construct an east-end bridge that will cross the Ohio River just south of the commerce center.

With the bridge locating near the commerce center, infrastructure continues to be a main focus for the board.

Board Member Kim Matthews asked about a connector road planned in River Ridge that connects to the proposed Interstate 265 crossing and whether or not it will be open by the time the east-end bridge is set for completion in 2016.

“I think we’d be hard pressed to have it done,” Acy said. “We will need some assistance. I think that is part of our planning, especially for next year.”

He said additional TIF funds may be able to finance a new bond to start the road and connect it to target-rich sites, and River Ridge is looking into possible assistance from state and federal transportation funding sources.

“It seems to me that would be one of our major priorities,” Matthews said. “We would want that road there as soon as we can get it done.”

River Ridge Engineer Marc Hildenbrand said the estimated cost for the road — which is being called River Ridge Parkway — could total between $17 million and $20 million.

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