News and Tribune

August 17, 2010

River Ridge Development Authority continues to use funding to prepare sites

25 projects considering the commerce center

By BRADEN LAMMERS
Braden.Lammers@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — River Ridge Development Authority continued to cash in on the funding scenarios that have been offered to the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant.

The development authority board adopted resolution 21-2010 in order to accept the bond financing allocated to the group by the Clark County Commissioners. The total accepted was $3.4 million of a public Recovery Zone Economic Development bond through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

By accepting the bond, River Ridge will be able to secure a loan from a lender and receive a 45 percent rebate on the interest rate, reducing the amount of money paid back over time. The $3.4 million accepted was a portion of the $5.4 million awarded in Clark County, with the remaining $2 million being designated to Clark Memorial Hospital.

The money that will be sought through the public bond will go toward infrastructure projects at River Ridge Commerce Center, including road construction, sanitary sewer improvements and electricity improvements.

River Ridge still has the opportunity to pursue between 37 and 50 percent of $7.9 million in private Recovery Zone Facility Bonds that are designated to Clark Memorial Hospital. A deadline to submit a project for a portion of the private bonding is in October.

“We’ll still be working with our local developers and if there is some way to make an application of those funds to support the developments at River Ridge, then we will proceed,” said River Ridge Executive Director Jerry Acy.

Also, funding that will be available immediately was designated to continue development. Duke Energy donated $25,0000 to River Ridge in the form of a Community Growth Partnership Grant.

“[Duke Energy] presented us with an opportunity, a few weeks ago, to seek some assistance in some funding and we readily take advantage of every opportunity we’re made aware of,” Acy said of the grant offered.

It will go toward improving sites it has for sale to make them more marketable.

A specific designation is to make the first shovel-ready site at the River Ridge Commerce Center that is inside the city limits of Charlestown. The center’s developments to this point have been in Jeffersonville.



WATER TALK

Along with developing sites to make them ready for construction, the authority is attempting to gain control of the upgraded water system on the property.

River Ridge sent a request-for-proposal to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to have primary responsibility for operating the water system in conjunction with Watson Water Co. and Louisville Water Co., which would operate as the wholesale water supplier. A decision on whether or not River Ridge’s request will be considered is likely to be heard by the end of the month.



PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL

All this comes with the hope of making River Ridge more attractive to investors.

Matt Hall, vice president of economic development for One Southern Indiana, presented an overview of how the regional economic development agency is promoting the sprawling property.

“River Ridge gets submitted on probably about 95 percent of the projects we get leads on because it’s a great product,” he said. “We’ve got roughly about 25 active projects right now that are considering River Ridge as one of the potential locations.”

Of those considering River Ridge are a vehicle manufacturer, bus manufacturer, high-efficiency thin-film solar panel maker and a number of other heavy manufacturers, Hall said.

He did not offer the names of the businesses at the meeting Monday.