Indiana has agreed to buy Ohio River-front land in Lawrenceburg that could house the state’s fourth port.
The state has been considering using the 725 acres in southeast Indiana as its next port facility for nearly a year.
Now, it’s inked an agreement to purchase the site, pending further study. Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office says the agreement will let port officials “begin studies to examine the economic and environmental viability of the parcel.”
It already has some infrastructure in place from its past life as a coal-fired power plant.
The state will need to see if the site can support the barging, shipping, rail, truck, storage and manufacturing facilities housed at Indiana’s existing three ports.
Those were built 30 years ago, in Burns Harbor on Lake Michigan, and on the Ohio River at Mt. Vernon and Jeffersonville. Lawrenceburg would complete that Ohio River chain, spanning Indiana’s southern border.
The state has until December 2018 to decide whether to buy the site. It would cost $8 million. The existing ports have a nearly $8 billion economic footprint.
The news of the Lawrenceburg agreement comes as officials cut the ribbon on a new steel processing facility at the port in Jeffersonville. The factory is owned by South Korea-based POSCO, the fifth-largest steelmaker in the world.