JEFFERSONVILLE: Reaching Beyond the River 

Jeffersonville, Indiana (Pop. 44,953)

10 in 10 weeks map - Jeffersonville

Many Indiana cities dream of a funnel pouring residents and visitors to their downtown businesses, restaurants and parks.  But for Jeffersonville, Indiana, this dream has just become a reality with the opening of the Big Four Bridge pedestrian and bicycle path in May 2014. Big Four, a former railroad truss bridge across the Ohio River, connects Louisville, Kentucky with the historic waterfront city of Jeffersonville.

In preparation for the bridge’s opening, Jeffersonville has dedicated substantial efforts and resources to revitalize their downtown area. The non-profit organization Jeffersonville Main Street, Inc. has worked to attract new businesses, offering events like the Wine Walk, Taste of Jeff and Jeff Fest. With grants from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the Jeffersonville Urban Enterprise Association, significant improvements have been made to the streetscape of Chestnut Street, which runs between the Big Four Bridge and downtown shopping and dining.

The city is working with the local arts alliance, museums, retailers and the Jeffersonville High School arts department to develop an arts and cultural district in the downtown area. The Public Arts Committee has hired a Public Arts administrator to oversee the district’s development.

Improvements also are being made to the Ohio River Greenway, a 7.1 mile mixed-use path that runs from Jeffersonville through Clarksville to New Albany, and connects Southern Indiana with Louisville, KY via the Big Four Bridge. These revitalized pathways support the city’s health and wellness initiatives, which include exercise classes and health-related events at Riverstage, a new performance venue that sits on the Ohio River.

A common element among these projects is resident buy-in, considered by Jeffersonville leadership as one of the most important factors in creating sustainable spaces and initiatives. The city has aimed to create spaces that meet a variety of needs and desires among business owners, residents, artists and visitors.

The bridge offers some of the best views of the Ohio River and adjacent skylines. And offers pedestrians and cyclists a chance to discover – or rediscover – the charms and vibrancy of an Indiana community dedicated to its visitors and residents.  

For more information about Jeffersonville’s revitalization efforts, please contact: Kelly Phillips, the city of Jeffersonville’s Director of Neighborhood and Business Development and Executive Director, Jeffersonville Urban Enterprise Association. Also be sure to visit Ball State’s best practice resource lists in the areas of arts integration, community design and community wellbeing.

Through its Primacy of Place (PoP) initiative, Ball State University’s Building Better Communities is committed to helping Indiana communities that desire to strengthen their local economies by putting human interests at the center of economic development. The “Ten Communities in Ten Weeks” series highlights ten Indiana cities and towns that are committed to promoting quality of life for their residents, businesses and visitors.  A new community will be highlighted each Thursday.  Follow us on Twitter at @BallStatePoP to receive the latest post. 

Are you interested in having your community highlighted in a future series? Tell us about your achievements through a 2014 Primacy of Place Awards Program application!  Applications are due by June 27. 

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