Ohio River Greenway


Q. Where is the Ohio River Greenway located?

A. Please take a look at the overview map showing the Greenway Corridor. The Ohio River Greenway is a 7 mile area along the banks of the Ohio River in Southern Indiana. The Eastern most end of Riverside Drive in Jeffersonville is also the eastern most point of the Ohio River Greenway. The project continues through Clarksville with the Western most point at West 10th Street in New Albany. The project will connect to the Kentucky side of the river utilizing the Big 4 Bridge in Jeffersonville and the K&I bridge in New Albany. The project proceeds along the riverfront with the levee/floodwall as the “northern” boundary . (Northern is in quotes because there are times when the levee/flood wall is not due north of the river.) The three demonstration projects (see more specific information in the next answer below) have been all constructed using the Master Plan as a beginning for design. The Master Plan was created to use as a basis for completing the Greenway, however, the Greenway Project continues to be a work in progress. The Master Plan dictates features which will need to be reevaluated as the project continues. One of the areas continually in question is the crossing of Silver Creek. Currently, the plan for crossing Silver Creek with the multi-use path is to utilize an abandoned railroad bridge located within the Loop Island Wetlands. This will allow for the least amount of disturbance of this truly natural habitat along the Ohio River.

Q. Why has this project taken so long to build?
(Click here for a PDF file “Chronology of the Greenway” listing milestones)

A. The Greenway was promoted as an idea in the 1990’s. It was not until the Greenway Commission was formed in 1993 that a serious effort began to take shape. Using money provided by then Congressman Lee Hamilton, the Commission partnered with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and initiated the first of many studies to determine the feasibility of the project. To date, environmental, economic, archeological, engineering, and planning studies have been conducted, as required by Federal and State statutes. With its own funding, the City of Jeffersonville constructed the first Greenway feature in 1998, the Terrace Lawn, using the design plans developed by the Corps. In 1999 the Corps recognized and designated the Greenway as a Federal Project. In doing so the Corps took on the tasks of construction, design, and scheduling. Along with these responsibilities the Federal Government committed to pay half the costs involved. The coordination of all of the necessary processes and procedures surrounding federal funding alone is complicated. The commitment by all of the parties involved in the Ohio River Greenway project is still strong after over 19 years of dedication. A project finish date has not been determined, because the funds have not yet been secured to accurately predict the completion. However, 2013 will prove to be a big year as the estimated completion timeframe for the Big 4 Bridge allowing access for pedestrians and bicyclists safe access across the Ohio River. 2014 will also be a big year with the completion of the renovation of the bridge crossing over Silver Creek.

Q. How is the Ohio River Greenway Funded?

A. In 2001 the Greenway project was deemed a project eligible for federal construction funds. The master plan calls for an improved roadway and a new multiuse pedestrian and bicycle pathway for the full seven miles of the Greenway. The project is estimated to cost approximately $42 million dollars, to be made up of 50% from the Federal Government and 50% from the “non-Federal sponsors”. In plain English this means that the local communities have at a minimum of $21 million dollars to find to put toward this project both from private partnerships as well as public funding from local municipalities. That huge figure represents the multi-use path, roadway upgrades and areas along the riverfront needing bank stabilization. All of the recreational features such as boat ramps, playgrounds and basketball courts are not part of the $42 million, which also means that the local communities (Clark County, Floyd County, Jeffersonville, Clarksville and New Albany) need to find resources for funding these features.

Q. How much of the Ohio River Greenway complete?

A. Please see the project map which demarks the completed segments

Q. What is being built next?

A. The areas constructed thus far included costly bank stabilization, upgrading the existing roadways, bridges and constructing the multi-use trails. The focus of the project now is to connect the projects areas with the multi-use path. The construction of the multi-use trail along the river front as well as up on the levee will be the top priority. However, before construction takes place, the design plans which are ready for construction have to be completed. Therefore, the preparation to begin construction is really the key.

Q. How can I support the Ohio River Greenway project?

A. It might be obvious, but we have to say it. You can donate money to the project via our website or send a check made out to the Ohio River Greenway Development Commission, 315 Southern Indiana Avenue, Jeffersonville, IN 47130. The 5K Run/Walk offers opportunities for sponsorship. The levels of sponsorship range from $250 to $4,500. The Friends of the Ohio River Greenway has 501C3 status which deems donations tax deductible. There are also opportunities for you to donate your time in the form of participating in advisory committees to the Commission. Sections of the Greenway are eligible for federal, state, county and city funds as well, so it is always helpful to contact your city, county, state and federal congressional representatives to garner support for this worthy project.

Q. How much is the project going to cost?

A. The roadway and multiuse pedestrian and bicycle pathway for the full seven miles is estimated to costs approximately $41 million dollars. The project will proceed in phases as money from Federal and non-Federal sources, becomes available. A 50/50 cost share requires participation by the Federal Government for one half the actual design and construction. The other one half must come from “non-Federal sponsors.” The cost of land acquisition also is a responsibility of the non-Federal sponsors. Applications for State participation, primarily through the Indiana Department of Transportation, have resulted in awards to the Commission for use on the project. Additional applications for non-Federal funding, both public and private, are ongoing. The Federal Government matches dollar for dollar any related expenditure and any awards submitted toward the project by the non-Federal sponsors. Administrative costs for the Greenway Commission are currently funded by the three municipalities. New Albany, Jeffersonville and Clarksville have agreed to fund the Commission through annual expenditures currently amounting to $12,000 each. As of September of 2012 $18 million has been spent on the project.

Q. What is being done to promote safety on the Greenway?

A. Certainly such a people place, as the Greenway, will have special consideration for public safety. The Commission and each of the municipalities have discussed policing, hours of operation, lighting, and communication needs. The Greenway will be constructed close to the Ohio River and while some parts of it will be close to city services other areas will not. Due diligence by the Greenway’s users will be encouraged along with increased safety patrols and surveillance.

Q. What is being done to control traffic volume and speed on the Greenway?

A. The vehicular traffic will travel on a two-lane road which will result from mostly from upgrading existing roads. Speed will be controlled by traffic calming techniques utilizing speed tables, stop signs, road design and regular patrols. The roadway portion will not serve as a shortcut from one municipality to another, but rather provide a scenic drive that enables the use of Greenway features. Speed will be controlled at a maximum speed of 25 MPH. The roadway is not expected to be open for its entire length 24 hours a day. The various municipalities, in concert with the Greenway Commission, will regulate these hours of operation. Examples of the speed tables can be seen in New Albany near the Amphitheatre.

Q. Who will maintain the completed Greenway?

A. Part of any agreement to spend Federal funds on the Greenway requires language that specifies timely and adequate maintenance. The Greenway could become similar to the flood levees that are maintained by a commission expressly for that purpose. In the case of the floodwalls a small tax is used to pay for grass cutting, utilities and other maintenance. Currently, each municipality is responsible for maintaining the constructed segments of the Greenway. The Ohio River Greenway Commission is also pursuing funding to use for a maintenance fund. If you are interested in contributing, please see our donations section of the website.

Q. What about Ohio River flooding on the Greenway?

A. Obvious to anyone who has lived near the Ohio River for some time, there are occasions when flooding becomes an issue. The Greenway is being designed to withstand the rigors that flooding creates. Bridges, lighting and park amenities are being designed with the knowledge that they are subject to seasonal rises in the river.

Q. How are members of the Greenway Commission appointed?

A. The chief executives of each municipality, two mayors and a council president, are members by virtue of their offices. Two additional members serving as volunteers from each community are appointed to a staggered four-year term by the chief executive of each community. Two members serving as volunteers are appointed to four-year terms by the Governor, one from Floyd County and one from Clark County. Additional non-voting members are from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Transportation, Southern Indiana Tourism Bureau and Southern Indiana Economic Development. In all cases a designee who meets the residency requirements can be a proxy for commission meetings. (Commission Members ) The Ohio River Greenway Commission meets on a monthly basis. Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month in the conference room located at the Southern Indiana Tourism Bureau, 315 Southern Indiana Ave Jeffersonville, Indiana 47130. All are invited to attend these public meetings.

Q. Will the Greenway be open 24 hours a day?

A. Sections of the Greenway are within areas of each municipality that allow for year-round use. However, other segments of the Greenway will have regulated hours of operation that are yet to be determined. Weather, frequency of use and public safety will all be factors in determining what areas will be open or closed and the hours of use.

Q. Who are the likely users of the Greenway?

A. The Ohio River Greenway is being designed to meet all accessibility standards. The casual park user, the wheel chair marathoner, and the bicycle enthusiast will frequent the parkways. Picnic areas, playground equipment, and historical interpretation will all be highlights of a day on the Greenway. The Greenway Commission envisions that the connection of communities along the Ohio River will foster cooperation and benefits such as tourism, seasonal festivals, dining and entertainment. Most of all the quality of life will be greatly enhanced with increased access to the river and the ability to showcase the heritage and culture of the region.