The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has recognized the River Ridge Development Authority (RRDA) with the 2020 Excellence in Economic Development Award. River Ridge received a Gold Award, the top honor, in the Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse (Population 25,000 to 200,000) category at IEDC’s annual conference. The award recognizes innovative projects that create jobs and serve as a catalyst for economic development in their region.
The RRDA, which manages the River Ridge Commerce Center, was established in 1998 to replace lost economic activity on 6,000 acres vacated by the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant. The Authority has invested more than $120 million to date to redevelop about 30 percent of the property. The investments in roads, utilities and other infrastructure have spurred private development activity and created thousands of jobs in Southern Indiana.
“To compete against economic development agencies from across the U.S. as well as Canada, Europe and other nations and win speaks volumes about River Ridge,” said Jerry Acy, executive director of the River Ridge Commerce Center. “We continue to reinvest in our region and amplify the positive impacts on our community and its being recognized on an international level.”
The River Ridge Commerce Center has become one of the largest magnets for economic growth and job creation in Southern Indiana and Louisville Metro. It serves as home to more than 60 companies with over 10,500 on-site workers. The Commerce Center estimated that it produced a total of $2.5 billion in economic output in 2019 and supported more than 16,900 regional jobs.
River Ridge credits its success to the combined efforts of local leaders in Clark County, Charlestown, Jeffersonville and Utica; the state of Indiana; and economic development officials with the Indiana Economic Development Corp., One Southern Indiana and Greater Louisville Inc.
“We’ve had great economic success in Southern Indiana, but we know we are only as good as the product we represent,” said Wendy Dant Chesser, president and CEO of One Southern Indiana, the leading economic development organization for Clark and Floyd counties. “River Ridge is a tremendous redevelopment project so deserving of the IEDC’s highest award. It serves as an asset to draw a variety of companies into our region, and we are so fortunate to have the economic climate, transportation access and workforce availability within the Louisville metro area to maximize River Ridge’s value.”
River Ridge attracts local, national and international employers from major industries including automotive, aerospace, food and beverage, and logistics with a rapidly growing pharmaceutical and life-sciences cluster. PharmaCord, which connects pharmaceutical companies with manufacturers, doctors and payers, announced a $56 million expansion in June that will result in 850 new jobs at River Ridge. Medline, a medical equipment company, expanded at River Ridge with a new $70 million, 1.1 million-square-foot facility. This continued growth as a hot spot for vital industry sectors contributed to River Ridge’s IEDC award win.
“The River Ridge Commerce Center is a tremendous asset in our state’s efforts to fuel job creation and business growth in Indiana,” said Jim Staton, chief business development officer of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “We congratulate River Ridge on this well-deserved honor and look forward to continuing to work together to build on the region’s economic momentum and keep Indiana on a path to success for many years to come.”
The 2020 Excellence in Economic Development Award was presented virtually during the organization’s 2020 annual conference. IEDC is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization comprised of more than 5000 economic development practitioners around the world. IEDC awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. This year, 35 awards were handed out honoring organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. For more information, visit http://iedcconferences.org/dallas/.