Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today introduced legislation to help clear the way for economic development at military installations closed outside the normal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, including the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant in Jeffersonville, which is now known as River Ridge Commerce Center. Rep. Todd Young (R-IN9) passed similar legislation in the House of Representatives this year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
"River Ridge is a promising economic development opportunity that could help boost the local economy and create jobs in southern Indiana," said Coats. "This bill will provide potential job creators at locations like River Ridge the same insurance protections granted to developers and businesses on all other closed military installations. I am pleased to join Rep. Young in this effort and will work with my colleagues to get the legislation approved in the Senate."
"I'm excited to partner with Senator Coats on this effort, and his support brings River Ridge one step closer to fulfilling its job creation potential," said Young. "As our office has worked with River Ridge officials for the last year to make the site more enticing to future employers, it has become clear that this is one of the best economic development opportunities in the state. Senator Coats' help in shepherding this House-passed legislation through the Senate will help bring more jobs more quickly to southern Indiana."
Businesses that redevelop military installations closed under BRAC guidelines are given indemnification or protection from legal action and costs associated with previous Department of Defense activities. The northern section of the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, which is now the Charlestown State Park, closed under the 1988 BRAC process, but the southern portion was shut down by the Department of Defense outside of the normal BRAC process. As a result, the southern portion of the plant, which is reserved for economic development by the state and county through the River Ridge Development Authority, is not guaranteed protection from issues that may arise. This legislation would solve that problem by ensuring all property owners of land formerly used as a military installation are indemnified by the Department of Defense.