LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An era ended on Thursday as tools that anchored hundreds of jobs in Jeffersonville were auctioned off, piece-by-piece.
As the Jeffboat auction comes to a close, questions linger over who the city wants to move into the property next.
The auction was still going on Thursday afternoon, and auctioneers say everything has to go.
"We're selling all of the assets located at the former Jeffboat facility," said Ron Moore, president of Plant and Machinery Inc. "Anything it takes to build a barge, we've had it."
And the price was right for some buyers, like Charles Galligan, who said he bought tools and equipment for "big deal."
"Hammers, rigging equipment, stuff I can use in my construction business," he said. "I paid 300 [dollars] and it was probably 3,000 [dollars]."
Jeffboat closed last year, bringing an end to 80 years of history as a leading barge manufacturer in southern Indiana. The auction salvages equipment left behind, from hand tools to heavy cranes -- more than 2,000 pieces up for grabs.
It's a bittersweet moment for Rad Calvin, who retired from Jeffboat in 2014.
"There's nothing here that I didn't work on," he said.
For Calvin and several others, the auction served as a workplace reunion of sorts. At its peak, the company employed approximately 800 people.
Many returned on Thursday in an effort to take a piece of it home.
"Sad, is what you feel because, here worked here for 48 years," said Calvin. "And I told these guys when I left, I said, 'I kept the ship upright for 48 years.' I said, 'Take care of it.'"
He says it didn't go well.
"Bloomp," he added, pointing his finger down.
As the equipment is auctioned off, the attention turns to what's next for the former site of Jeffboat. It's prime real estate, with the site consisting of about a mile of riverfront property in Jeffersonville.
Mayor Mike Moore says a venture capitalist group out of California currently owns the land and he's negotiating with the company for the city to take it over, but he doesn't expect a deal until next spring.
"Jeffboat has meant so much to the city of Jeffersonville," Moore said. "It's what built us."
He says the ultimate goal is redevelopment.
"With some commercial space and residential space -- and obviously the greenway stops just on the west side for the Jeffboat property -- I'd like to continue that all the way through the Jeffboat sight," Moore said.
Calvin has a few ideas of his own.
"I'd like to see me own this," he laughed.
Does he have enough money to buy it?
"Well, no," he said. "It would have to be pay-as-you-go."
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