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Planners to unveil framework for former Jeffboat site in Southern Indiana

Industrial equipment and hangars on the former Jeffboat shipyard in Jeffersonville.
John Boyle
Planners will present a framework later this month for redevelopment of the former Jeffboat property in Jeffersonville.

The team behind redevelopment of the former Jeffboat property in Jeffersonville is expected to unveil a framework plan later this month for the roughly 80-acre riverfront project.

After spending time on research, including community input, planners are ready to present a preliminary vision of what’s next for the former shipyard just east of downtown Jeffersonville.

The team will present the plan at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Howard Steamboat Museum’s Carriage House in Jeffersonville.

Residents packed the Carriage House at two meetings earlier this year to give feedback.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said there’s been a huge response from those meetings, and that he’s personally gotten hundreds of emails or had conversations with people asking what’s going to be there.

“It's almost like waiting for Christmas morning,” he said. “October 26 is going to be the day that we open a new present and what's in there, I'm anxious to see.”

Property owner American Commercial Barge Line hired OHM Advisors and The Wheatley Group to help with planning. They’ve also partnered with the City of Jeffersonville.

At the most recent public meeting in April, planners presented two potential site concepts — including a mix of green space, restaurants, residential and entertainment spaces.

Dylan Fisher, vice president of real estate with The Wheatley Group, said planners have built off of those ideas for what will be presented later this month.

“There's great potential here for that site,” he said. “And if you build a place that people want to live, you're also going to build a place that people want to visit. And so the various land uses that are shown in this plan, whether it be housing or retail, office and hotel, all come together to help create a really thriving neighborhood.”

Moore said he hopes the project can be profitable for ACBL and also provide great opportunities for the public to access the river.

“Right now we're looking at 80 acres of [an] old, abandoned shipyard. But it's about to be converted into something special,” Moore said. “Any time we can mix in public use with quality of life and something beautiful on the river that everybody gets to have access to, I think we all win.”

Fisher said the plans presented later this month won’t be final. That will come later after the team selects a master developer.

He said they’ve seen interest from developers across the country who have visited the city to see the site and gauge the market potential.

The current framework plan will be presented to the Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission, and final development plans will have to go before the city’s planning and zoning board.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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