JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- The opening of the Big Four pedestrian bridge has been a huge success, attracting thousands of walkers, runners, and bikers every week.
The bridge still has not opened on the Indiana side of the Ohio River, but it is already having an economic impact in downtown Jeffersonville.
Veteran restaurant owner Matt McMahan believes he knows a good business opportunity when he sees one. He has just begun renovating an historic building on Spring Street that most recently was a small tavern and he is turning it into a three story restaurant and bar.
"Obviously the Big Four has definitely been a big influence on us taking over this location which we are going to name Big Four Burgers and Beer," says McMahan.
The restaurant will include a three-story outdoor deck that overlooks the river and the bridge.
McMahan has owned a number of restaurants in Southern Indiana and believes his newest one will be a huge success. "I really think this is going to be the best location we've ever had," he says.
The executive director of Jeffersonville Main Street, Inc., a local agency that works with the city to improve the downtown area, is happy about the impact the bridge is already having on the downtown area. "We are seeing a tremendous economic impact because of the buzz about the Big Four," says Jay Ellis.
He says McMahan isn't the only restaurant owner opening a new establishment. "Right now we are looking at four or five, with more on the way," Ellis says.
Existing businesses are also making improvements anticipating more customers. Adrienne and Co. Bakery and Cafe on Court Street is adding an outdoor patio.
"With all of the improvements the city is making in Jeffersonville," says bakery owner Bernie Pasquantino, "we wanted to make our front look nice too, and invite those people who are walking over the bridge to stop and get some dessert and hang out."
Ellis of Main Street, Inc. adds, "We can't wait for all of the people to walk over and come over on their bikes, we are going to offer them a lot of things to do."
The Indiana side of the Big Four Bridge now expected to open by late fall.
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