Groundbreaking Date For New Rupp Pushed Back To 2015

Reported by: Aaron Adelson
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Updated: 9/18/2013 7:16 pm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAdelsonABC36

What does the future hold for Rupp Arena?  Architects chosen to design a new Rupp held a public meeting seeking input.  The architects wanted people to tell them what the arena should look like, but the date for the renovation was pushed back. 

Mayor Gray says Lexington leaders first envisioned a downtown civic center in the 1920's, long before Rupp Arena became home to the 'Cats. 

Gray says it took hardwork and time to make it happen, and he finds similarities in the planning for a new Rupp.

Gray says re-inventing Rupp is a 10-step process.

"I said that from the very beginning, still saying that.  I'm looking at the glass half-full.  I am irrepressibly optimistic.  Sooner, or later this arena must be renovated, and must be made more competitive," said Mayor Jim Gray.

Gray started the process in 2011.  The step now is getting public input on a design. 

The Lexington Center Board hopes to receive a concept design from the architects in December, then a cost-estimate, and then put together a financial plan.

"There's nothing at all unexpected about a complex project taking time.  Any project like this, that you see anywhere in the country, if you look at its history, there are always challenging times during the project," said Gray.

Lexington Center Board Chair Brent Rice gave us a new groundbreaking date.  He hopes to start building in early 2015. 

Two months earlier Rice announced a 2014 groundbreaking date.  Here's what happened when we asked in July how firm that is without having financing in place:

"We absolutely hope that we continue to stay on schedule, because we have to," said Rice.

UK's lease with Rupp Arena ends in 2018.  Gray says they're meeting regularly with the University, but UK has not signed a new lease.

A UK Spokesperson confirms they meet regularly, but says they have nothing new to say good, bad, or otherwise.
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