Where the East End Bridge and River Ridge Meet

Louisville economic developmentWhile most of us may think that River Ridge Commerce Center in Jeffersonville, Indiana is just a strategically located business park, we may not realize the history of the site or the vast potential it holds for the economic prosperity of our region.

Its history dates back to World War II, when it operated as the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant that manufactured gunpowder during World War II, the Korean War, and the Viet Nam War. In 1998, 6,000 acres of the site were transferred to the River Ridge Development Authority and dedicated to the economic growth of our region.

The decision to transfer the property has paid off, and River Ridge’s potential as a major economic development site — a place with thousands of well paying jobs — is bigger now than ever before. But why is the River Ridge so attractive to job seekers and corporations looking for expansion? Last week we published an article about Amazon’s decision to build a $150 million distribution center in River Ridge due to its location and easy access to major interstates that connect Louisville and Southern Indiana. Not to mention its close proximity to UPS, the Louisville National Airport, Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville, and CSX railroad via Mid-American Rail Service. This “Crossroads of America” location is certainly an attractive site for new and expanding businesses to locate, but there’s more to it than that.

What’s even more exciting about this particular site is the development going on around it, to include plans for the East End Bridge, which is scheduled to begin construction this year. The bridge, which is part of the Ohio River Bridges Project, will connect Louisville’s east end to Southern Indiana. An exit right beside the River Ridge Commerce Center will make the site even more accessible to the rest of the region. And even more important is that fact that the new East End bridge is just one of the planned transportation upgrades that are coming, including the new downtown bridge, the proposed widening of I-65 through Barren, Hart, LaRue and Hardin Counties, and the I-265 extension through Southern Indiana. Our bridges and highways are key to our region’s future, and paths that lead to many more River Ridges — for instance, the Glendale “Megasite” in Hardin County, a 1,551-acre “shovel-ready” site along I-65 that puts two-thirds of the U.S. population within a one-day truck drive.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Economic development opportunities exist all over our region, and as the economy continues to improve, it will offer terrific venues for even more business expansions and new opportunities. Great jobs will follow. In future blogs we’ll be profiling as many of these as possible. Meanwhile, we’d like to hear what you think. Tell us about a new business that’s coming to your community, or a prime spot where you think site selectors should be looking.