project proposed to link
Ohio County with Northern Ky.
RISING SUN, Ind. (February 2006) The Rising
Sun-Ohio County Port Authority has proposed a project to develop a ferry
service that would provide transportation across the Ohio River at Rising
Sun, Ind., to a site between Rabbit Hash, Ky., and McVille, Ky., in
Boone County. While this project has actually been discussed for years,
it looks as though it is finally gaining momentum on both sides of the
Ed Sullivan, executive director of the Regional Economic
Development Foundation in Rising Sun, Ind., said that the project is
in its very beginning stages. He said that it will be at least three
to four months before the direction the project takes becomes clearer,
and as long as a year to get the project up and working if it is accepted.
At this point the project has to be approved by the Boone County Planning
Commission, which will need to change the zoning of the proposed site.
It will then have to receive permits from various agencies, such as
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Indiana Department of Natural
Resources. After that, a service provider will have to work out operational
plans, such as rates and hours of operation.
Tammy Elbright, executive director for Historic Downtown Rising Sun
Main Street Program, said that the ferry project has been addressed
a few times in the past 10 years but recent actions on both sides suggest
that now is the best chance for the project to succeed.
The major obstacle has been to get both the Kentucky and Indiana
sides to agree together, Elbright said.
Apparently, opposition for the project has come mainly from critics
who feel that the ferry would be beneficial to Indiana, but not Kentucky,
residents. Gary Brett, president of the Rising Sun-Ohio County Port
Authority, said, There are those on the Kentucky side who feel
that we are only providing the ferry service because of the Grand Victoria
Casino and Resort, which is located in Rising Sun.
However, Brett and other proponents of the ferry project argue that
the ferry would be an economically wise decision for both sides of the
Ohio River. Brett said that Northern Kentucky is one of the quickest
growing areas, economically, with business and job opportunities rapidly
expanding. The ferry would provide businesses and industries access
to available workers from both sides of the river.
A ferry would also provide a quicker way for Indiana residents to get
to Kentucky businesses. Evidently, residents of Rising Sun and surrounding
Indiana counties travel to Florence, Ky., to do most of their major
shopping and to take care of other business needs. Florence, a minor
city situated across the river from Cincinnati, offers shopping malls
and other attractions that are not available to Indiana residents in
their local areas.
However, traffic congestion seems to be a serious problem along the
only route available to Indiana residents to get to Florence. Residents
of many counties in southern Indiana must travel on Hwy. 56 to Lawrenceburg,
and then on to I-275 through the Cincinnati area to get to Florence.
If traffic is good, it will take 45-60 minutes to get from Rising
Sun to Florence. If not, it can be a major problem, Elbright said.
With construction on Hwy. 50 and Hwy. 56 in Lawrenceburg and Aurora
about to make the situation worse, all officials involved in the project
agree that travel time could be cut in half and traffic congestion in
the entire area eased considerably by the shorter water route a ferry
Officials are also excited about the impact on tourism that a ferry
could have. Sullivan anticipates that offering a shorter route through
the area will bring more tourism and other business to the Rising Sun
and Ohio Valley area. Elbright hopes that the ferry itself would be
a tourist attraction. She said that there is a unique history of ferry
operations between Rising Sun and Rabbit Hash.
A new ferry would certainly add to the heritage of the area,
While acknowledging that a shorter route would definitely help increase
area business, Brett also said, A ferry ride across the river
would be a chance to just relax and enjoy the view.
Back to February 2006