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July 12, 2013

Pathway to progress: Constructing a gateway to Jeffersonville’s historic downtown on Chestnut Street

JEFFERSONVILLE —

Officials envision a sliver of a downtown Jeffersonville street linked to the Big Four Bridge project as a golden path to future economic development. 

“It’s one of the smaller projects we have going on for the Big Four Station and the Bridge Four Bridge, but it’s one of the most important projects that we have,” Redevelopment Director Rob Waiz said Thursday during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Chestnut Street reconstruction project, which will create a gateway from the Big Four pedestrian and bicycle bridge landing to historic downtown Jeffersonville. “The reason it’s so important ... we want to make sure it’s very inviting [and people] want to come on down and visit historic downtown Jeffersonville.”

If a red carpet could be rolled out for prospective businesses, Chestnut Street would be it, as officials see the one-block stretch of the project as an essential showcase to lure commercial investment. 

“It’s going to be a visual cue when you’re coming off the Big Four Bridge that there’s something special just feet away from here,” said Jay Ellis, executive director of Jeffersonville Main Street, Inc.

Jeffersonville Planning Director Shane Corbin said the revamped streetscape will create a seamless transition from the end of the Big Four Bridge ramp at Chestnut and Pearl streets to Spring Street.

The city received a $250,000 Main Street Revitalization grant from the state to help pay for the road project that will include the widening of the road, bike lanes, sidewalks, new lighting, bike racks, benches and new trees. The Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission and Urban Enterprise Zone are each contributing $128,619 to the project.

Chestnut Street will be closed for 60 days during the reconstruction, and the full scope of the project is expected to be completed in late October or early November and coincide with the opening of the Indiana side of the Big Four Bridge ramp.

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