JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- The loss of a longtime riverfront business and a year of traffic headaches helped pave the way for what's next in Jeffersonville.
Mayor Mike Moore spoke about the state of the city Tuesday.
"It was an emotional day when Jeffboat announced last year that it was closing its doors for good," Moore said.
As business sank for the longtime barge maker, the hope is other "boats" will rise eventually.
"Folks, the sky's the limit," Moore said. "Jeffboat — this isn't something I want to rush into. It's too promising of a project to just to settle for something."
Moore announced during his address that taking over and developing the prime waterfront property is one of his biggest priorities. First, it has to be cleared of equipment and cleaned.
"There's not going to be anything in 2019, maybe 2020," he said.
Moore said he envisions the area eventually becoming a mixture of green space with homes and businesses.
Drivers are nearly done dodging construction zones and orange cones along 10th Street. That work is paving the way for another project.
"Now, it's time to turn our attention to re-purposing the 10th Street corridor to a vibrant area of mix use of businesses and residences," Moore said. "Our commitment has never been stronger."
He said Jeffersonville sits on solid financial footing too.
"Our city's finances have never been stronger," Moore said.
Moore reports that 2018 ended with $7.6 million of cash on hand and nearly $5 million more in the city's rainy day fund. The city has added nearly 7,000 jobs in the seven years he's been in office. Moore said he hopes to add more jobs with a focus on workforce development and keeping people in the area.
"Where our problem is, less than 20 percent of River Ridge is occupied right now," Moore said.
He told reporters after his speech that Jeffersonville has everything to attract big business except an educated workforce. He intends to keep working with Ivy Tech and Indiana lawmakers to provide scholarships to Jeffersonville High School graduates, outlined in his new Jeffersonville's Promise project. Moore said the city needs to set it sights at training a skilled workforce and keeping them in the city.
Moore could not name what businesses or companies might be currently interested in moving to the city. But he added he's building the city up, and that will attract future interest. And the city is aiming for higher-salaried jobs, because that will continue to support future growth.
"Any company that is looking to expand is looking to Jeffersonville, Indiana — the reason is why?" he said. "We're along the Ohio River. We're in the middle of the United States. We're by two interstates. We have an international airport. We have a strong rail system. We have everything. And lo and behold, we have all this farmland that's no longer farm. So we've got room for growth."
You can read Moore's full speech below:
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