Southern Indiana

Clarksville is one step closer to making its new downtown a reality after breaking ground on a new street grid.

Town leaders are building the downtown grid on former industrial land in South Clarksville, directly across the Ohio River from downtown Louisville. They plan to develop the land into a walkable urban core, with retail and residential units.

John Gilkey, a town council member and vice president of the redevelopment commission, said the new streets are a much-needed improvement from the former infrastructure.

“The area basically had been served by two local streets passing through the area that were not in very good locations or very well maintained,” Gilkey said. “This new street grid will accelerate the development of the area by making parcels available for development and readily accessible.”

Town officials are naming the new streets after members of the Lewis and Clark expedition, known as the Nine Young Men from Kentucky. The group was formed in Clarksville.

Gilkey said it’s important to remember the town’s history as it begins its next chapter.

“We’re proud that the westward development of the country basically started here in Clarksville, and we wanted to honor the people who were the core of the expedition,” he said.

The Town of Clarksville and its redevelopment commission have already invested more than $30 million into the area. The street project will cost an estimated $5 million.

The mixed-use development Bolt+Tie, which was the first project in the newly-created downtown area, opened about a year ago. A development called Current812 will bring more shops and apartments to the area.

About four additional projects are also in the works.

“We’re excited that the Clarksville Town Council and Redevelopment Commission have prioritized infrastructure improvements for the new downtown district,” Redevelopment Director Nic Langford said in a statement. “Private development follows public investment; this new street grid is setting the table for us to attract bigger and better projects to our fast-growing riverfront.”

The street grid project is expected to wrap up in late 2023.

John Boyle is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. John’s coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by the Caesars Foundation of Floyd County, Community Foundation of Southern Indiana and Samtec, Inc.

John Boyle is a reporter and editor at WFPL news focused on Southern Indiana. He is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.