The River Ridge Development Authority in southern Indiana is looking to continue the growth of one of the region’s main economic drivers. The organization says it plans to invest more than $315 million over the next two decades in order to complete infrastructure improvements at the River Ridge Commerce Center. Executive Director Jerry Acy says less than 30 percent of the 6,000-acre business park has been built out for development and much of the park’s north end remains undeveloped.
A report released in February showed River Ridge helped create or sustain more than 16,000 regional jobs and generated $2.3 billion in economic impact. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Acy said the RRDA is looking to leverage the growth they’ve experienced.
"We have made some major incremental progress, especially in the last 10 years with new companies coming in with development and land sales," said Acy. "If we can maintain the current pace and the growth pattern, we could conceivably have at some point in time 30,000 employees at River Ridge and be probably in the $4-$5 billion in economic impact, so ultimately we still have quite a ways to go but we’re making some pretty significant progress."
Acy says the majority of development at River Ridge has been concentrated on the south side of the site near the interstate system. The north end of the property previously served as the production area of the former Indiana Army Ammunition plant. He says there are more than 1,000 structures from the plant that need to be removed and the RRDA is already adding infrastructure such as roads, sewers and water access to prepare for future development.
"We have a lot of work left ahead of us and we’re having to do that on an incremental basis as we can afford to do the demolition," said Acy. "On the north end, we do have some major demolition projects. We have one big phase of demolition that’s been completed. We’re building some new roads and extending the main water line up to service that area that’s just now being able to start the redevelopment process because of demand and timing and funding."
The RRDA says other parts of the north end project include updating the railroad network for modern rail usage, clearing out invasive plant species, and preserving or mitigating karst areas.
"We have a lot of work on the North End, but there’s also a lot of opportunity there," Acy said. "Once the roads, water mains and other infrastructure are in place, we’re confident this will be a popular place for large employers to locate and benefit the entire region."
Acy says the RRDA is looking to continue the growth they’ve experienced.