By BRADEN LAMMERS
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.
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.
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.
OTHER ROAD PROJECTS
Hildenbrand provided an update on two other road projects at River Ridge that are in their final stages.
A project to widen and install turn lanes on Ind. 62 has had its final inspection and is complete, with only seeding and straw in the spring remaining.
Another project to install traffic signals at Salem-Noble Road and Ind. 62 is nearing completion. Acy said crews are still working on installing signal arms on the railroad tracks at Salem-Noble Road and did not have a timetable for its completion.
With all the changes in the past year, the River Ridge development authority board is looking into the possibility of making a change of its own.
“We have discussed the possibility of building our own stand-alone office or moving into another space,” Acy said.
The board approved seeking a request-for-proposal to proceed with pursuing options outside of its current office space.