ACBL, Jeffersonville Make Plans To Redevelop Former Site Of Jeffboat Shipyard

American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL) executed a redevelopment agreement with the city of Jeffersonville, Ind., September 13 to fund the development of a master plan for the former Jeffboat shipyard site.

The 80-acre site, on the right descending bank of the Ohio River at Mile 602, has been vacant since ACBL closed Jeffboat in 2018.

Under the agreement, the city’s Redevelopment Commission will fund up to $200,000 for the costs of the master plan to OHM Advisors, the planning firm selected to develop the master plan and determine the best use of the property.

Earlier this year, ACBL engaged The Wheatley Group to guide the company through a two-year asset assessment and redevelopment planning process that will result in the prominent riverfront parcel for its best use.

Sign up for Waterway Journal's weekly newsletter.Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest inland marine news straight to your inbox including breaking news, our exclusive columns and much more.

The former Jeffboat site at one time was the site of the largest inland shipyards in the United States and the second-largest builder of barges until its closing in 2018. The shipyard was founded in Jeffersonville in the 1800s and was one of the city’s largest employers.

“ACBL and Jeffboat have been an integral part of the Jeffersonville community for more than a century,” said Mike Ellis, ACBL CEO. “Although we closed the Jeffboat shipbuilding facility in 2018 due to tough economic times, we are excited about the redevelopment and repurposing of this site going forward. We believe the end result will be a transformational waterfront mixed-use space that ties into the other successes the city of Jeffersonville has completed on the waterfront and surrounding areas.”

“We have approximately one mile of prime real estate right here in Jeffersonville,” Mayor Mike Moore said. “The possibilities are limitless. We’re excited to team with ACBL to help develop a shared vision for this property.”

Moore said he looks forward to working with ACBL and having community engagement meetings to hear from residents during the master planning process.

“There’s a rich history associated with Jeffboat in our city. But it’s now time to write the next chapter in that story, and it starts with a plan to transfer the former shipyard into a catalyst for more growth and development in Jeffersonville.”

OHM Advisors is a national firm with an office in Jeffersonville. The firm has extensive experience in a diversity of large-scale, multifaceted waterfront redevelopment projects including the riverfront revitalization in Owensboro, Ky.

“To us, this is more than a project; it is an opportunity to collaboratively work with ACBL and the city to redefine and maximize the 80 acres of waterfront that is storied with deep history and fully matured to serve its next great use for a community,” said Rob Huckaby, director of the Louisville office for OHM Advisors. “Our team recognizes the great interest in this property and the need to balance the private sector economic needs of the property owner with that of the community interests. We look forward to putting forth a planning process that efficiently gathers public feedback to develop a market driven plan that makes sense.”