SE Indiana port takes huge step

SE Indiana port takes huge step

the Beacon, November 2016, Celeste Calvitto

Lawrenceburg site under study as state’s 4th port The Ports of Indiana announced Oct. 6 that Indiana Michigan Power agreed to sell its recently retired Tanners Creek coal plant in Lawrenceburg to a brownfield redevelopment company that is working with the Ports of Indiana to evaluate the site for use as the state’s fourth port.

“Infrastructure critical to our state’s economy includes more than just roads,” said Gov. Mike Pence. “Indiana’s ports and waterways have been tremendous catalysts for economic growth for decades, and there is great potential here in southeast Indiana to further energize our economy. In my State of the State address last January, I called upon the Ports of Indiana to vigorously explore the building of a fourth port in the southeastern part of our state, and I’m thankful for their continued progress as we work to make this a reality.”

St. Louis-based Commercial Development Company Inc. (CDC) and its affiliates will work with Ports of Indiana to determine if the facility’s approximately 700 acres of property can be developed as the state’s 4th port. CDC and its affiliates, Environmental Liability Transfer
Inc. and EnviroAnalytics Group, specialize in brownfield remediation, environmental
liability management, and redevelopment of formerly distressed sites.

The Tanners Creek coal electric generation facility was a workhorse for Indiana Michigan Power, generating energy from 1951 through May of 2015. Plant employees had a reputation for productivity and safety. Indiana Michigan Power is owned by American Electric Power, among the largest electric utilities in the U.S. with nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states.

“Pursuing the development of a new port in southeast Indiana will help drive growth for our 21st-century agriculture and advanced manufacturing sectors and attract continued business investment to our state,” said Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb. “The Ohio River has always provided strategic advantages for this region, and Indiana has a strong record of leveraging our transportation assets into economic strength.”

“This is a historic day for Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County and Southeast Indiana,”
said State Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg, who has been working on locating a port in the region for several years. “Our leaders have spoken of a riverport in this area almost as long as Indiana has been a state. Today their vision made a giant step forward. Gov. Mike Pence, Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, Port of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper, Rising Sun ECDC, and all our local leaders pulled together. I’m honored to have played a small part.”

The Ports of Indiana has been evaluating multiple locations in southeast Indiana for potential port developments and has identified the brownfield redevelopment and clean-up of the Tanners Creek facility as a favorable site for further analysis.

“There is no question the Lawrenceburg site and its existing infrastructure would have value in a port development project,” said Rich Cooper, CEO for the Ports of Indiana. “It’s too early to say for sure what can be developed here, but it certainly warrants further investigation. Indiana’s last port was built 30 years ago, and port property in the U.S. is extremely limited; once it’s gone – it’s ‘game over’ for future port development.
We will be evaluating this site’s viability for attracting new business to the Cincinnati
metro area and to spur further economic development in the Tri-State region. Extensive analysis went into identifying the Tanners Creek facility and the next steps will be to determine how much land is developable and the costs associated with making the land useful.”

The Ports of Indiana manages three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan that support 60,000 jobs and $7.8 billion in annual economic activity. The state’s closest port  to Lawrenceburg is the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville, opened in 1985.