Ohio River Greenway


UPDATED: March 2019

Q. Where is the Ohio River Greenway located?

A. Please take a look at the project map showing the Greenway Corridor. The Ohio River Greenway is a 7.5 mile area along the banks of the Ohio River in Southern Indiana. The eastern end of Riverside Drive in Jeffersonville is also the eastern end of the Greenway Corridor (milepoint 0.0 on the project map). The Greenway continues through Clarksville to its western end at West 10th Street in New Albany.  The project proceeds along the riverfront with the levee/floodwall as the northern boundary. Bicycle/pedestrian connection is provided to the Kentucky side of the river utilizing the Big 4 Bridge in Jeffersonville.

Q. Why has this project taken so long to build?

A. The three communities partnered with the Federal government through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to obtain authorization for the “Ohio River Greenway Public Access Project” (the Greenway Project). Authorization as a Federal project required several years of planning studies to determine the feasibility of the project, evaluate environmental and economic impacts, investigate for cultural resources (including archeological artifacts), and determine protected wetland areas. These studies were required before detailed engineering and construction plans could be pursued and property acquired. Much of the project area through Clarksville is very archaeologically sensitive, which has also added to design and construction delays. The Greenway Project has been funded largely through Federal grants and Congressional allocations, which are limited in size and availability. Funding has not been consistent or certain, so the Project has been built in multiple segments (11 through 2018) which takes a lot longer than building a single project.

Q. How is the Greenway Project funded?

A. The project has been funded largely through Federal grants and Congressional allocations, with matching funds provided by the three communities. Depending on the source of Federal funding, the local contribution may be 20 to 50%. The local matching funds have come from a variety of sources including private donors, but there has never been a specific local bond issued for the Greenway and therefore no local debt incurred.

Q. How much of the Greenway Project is complete?

A. Please see the project map which demarks the completed segments. Through the end of 2018 and the opening of the new bicycle/pedestrian bridge across Silver Creek between Clarksville and New Albany, the Greenway Project is almost 90% complete. There are three small segments of multi-use path to be completed, totaling around 1-mile.

Q. What is being built next?

A. The remaining 1-mile of multi-use path is split among the communities, with around 1/2 mile in New Albany and 1/4 mile in both Clarksville and Jeffersonville. The segment is Jeffersonville has been fully designed. Detailed design in Clarksville and New Albany should begin in 2019. There is no firm construction completion schedule for the remaining segments at this time.

Each of the three communities has either recently completed or is pursuing initiatives “beyond the Greenway” which are not part of the Federally-designated Greenway Project. These related projects are intended to enhance or connect to the Greenway Corridor and include:

Jeffersonville – the City completed Big 4 Station Park ( https://jeffparks.org/parks/big4-station/  ) which has become a centerpiece of downtown revitalization

Clarksville – the South Clarksville Redevelopment Plan (http://www.townofclarksville.com/southclarksvilleplan.php) has been adopted and will include a massive riverfront park to replace Ashland Park: the Town is partnering with the River Heritage Conservancy ( http://riverheritageconservancy.org/ ) which has begun property acquisition and master planning for a 400-acre park to replace old landfills and auto salvage yards along Silver Creek and the Ohio River: Clarksville has also acquired about 2-miles of abandoned rail line for the construction of a Central Trail that will connect from Ray Lawrence Park near I-65 into the Greenway (construction planned for summer 2019).

New Albany – the City has acquired Loop Island Wetlands and an adjacent 22-acre parcel which creates 77 acres of wetland and bottomland forest for conservation and hiking/exploration. Improvements to a natural hiking trail within Loop Island Wetlands were started in late 2018 and will be completed in Spring/Summer 2019. The City has also acquired the former QRS Recycling property at the western end of the Greenway, and has begun master planning for expanded green space there and even further to the west.

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

A. The Greenway has been constructed close to the Ohio River and while some parts of it are close to city services other areas are not. Special consideration for public safety has been included in both the design and ongoing use plans.  Some parts of the multi-use path are already under camera surveillance, and additional surveillance is planned. The police departments have acquired off-road utility vehicles and bicycles for patrolling the path. A wayfinding signage system is partially completed which helps users determine distances between trailheads and public amenities, and provides emergency contact information. The wayfinding signage will be completed in 2019. The Greenway is lighted for dusk/night use in the following sections (see project map):

  • Jeffersonville – Milepoint 0 to 1.0
  • Clarksville – Milepoint 1.25 to 1.75
  • New Albany – Milepoint 6.25 to 6.75 and the 18th Street Trailhead

Greenway users must plan accordingly for dusk/night use.

Q. Is the Greenway open 24 hours a day?

A. Sections of the Greenway in each municipality are lighted which will allow for 24-hour use (see question above). 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. Generally, there are no plans for snow removal on the multi-use path, and some sections of the path can be flooded when the Ohio River rises in winter and spring.

Q. Where are the public restrooms along the Greenway?

A.  Currently, permanent public restrooms are limited to Clarksville’s Ashland Park (Milepoint 1.25) and New Albany’s Amphitheatre (Milepoint 6.5), but these facilities may not be open in winter.  Facilities are also available inside the interpretive center at the Falls of the Ohio State Park (Milepoint 2.0). Portable restrooms are utilized for special events in each community. There are several restaurants and public businesses in Jeffersonville within and adjacent to the Greenway Corridor, and also in downtown New Albany approximately one block away from the multi-use path, accessible at East 6th Street or the Amphitheatre.

Q. Who will maintain the completed Greenway?

A.  Each municipality is responsible for maintaining its constructed segments of the Greenway. Maintenance is provided by a combination of parks departments, flood control districts, public works departments, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

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

A. The Friends of the Ohio River Greenway ( http://www.friendsofthegreenway.org/  ) is set-up for handling monetary donations to support the Greenway, and their 501C3 status makes donations tax deductible. The Friends also work on promotion and advocacy for the Greenway and sponsor special events which can use volunteer help.  The easiest way to support the Greenway is to USE it, and TELL your city/town, county, state and Federal representatives that you support the efforts to complete, enhance and maintain this worthy project.