LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Take a drive down East 15th Street in New Albany and you may hear the sound of tires hitting the rails running through town. For the past several years, the rails have only seen car traffic as the tracks have lay unused, but that is going to change in the coming months.
“It can cause inconveniences, but what we have to remind the public and sometimes ourselves is that this is truly an investment in our future,” Wendy Dant Chesser, the president and CEO of One Southern Indiana, said.
According to Dant Chesser, CSX has already started working on repairing and renovating the rail lines cutting through New Albany that run along East 15th Street to Grant Line Road, eventually ending at Northwest Ordinance Distilling, the Sazerac bottling plant in the former General Mills Pillsbury facility. Northwest Ordinance Distilling is planning on using the rails to help with transportation.
“Because that track sat idle for a while, it was going to need some upgrades, and that’s going to be good not only for road traffic but also the rail traffic,” Dant Chesser said.
Dant Chesser said she and her team at One Southern Indiana had talked with CSX when they were trying to find a new tenant for the former Pillsbury facility.
“We knew that when we were going to market that building to a new potential user, we wanted to make sure it checked as many economic development boxes that it could,” she said. “And rail service was definitely an important part of that.”
There is no timeline as to when trains will once again start running on the rails, but Dant Chesser said while it may take residents some time getting used to sharing the roads again, this is a good sign for New Albany and Southern Indiana.
“This is just another chapter in the book of the downtown area and the changes that have to take place for us to remain viable and competitive for attracting businesses and the talent that we need,” she said.