Rupp Arena: What's Next?

Rupp Arena: What's Next?

After the Senate denied sending $80 million to fund the project, what happens now?

What does the future hold for Rupp Arena?  City leaders requested $80 million from the state, and the Senate denied Lexington that money. 

The 2014 legislative session ended without a vote on the request.

Mayor Gray is gearing up for the next round.  The Senate said no right now, but not no forever.  Mayor Gray believes strongly in the project, and remains optimistic.

Mayor Gray didn't get what he wanted. 

"This is a setback," said Gray.

Mayor Gray wanted to open a renovated Rupp in the fall of 2017.  Gray says that will not happen.

"Taking a little time, letting the dust settle, and then keep moving.  Keep fighting for what's right, and keep fighting for what's fair," said Gray.

The state gave about $120 million to Louisville for the Yum! Center and its convention center.  But the Senate denied Lexington $80 million for Rupp and the convention center. 

"it's simple.  We're just asking, you know, hey, let's be treated fairly.  That's what a mayor would ask," said Gray.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer does not appreciate that comment. 

"To infer that Lexington has been mistreated is, it's a little bit of a slap in the face, and I wish they would stop that talk.  It's not helping them.  It's not helping their situation," said Senator Thayer.

For Lexington to get state money, Thayer says Gray needs to be fully transparent.  Gray says the project is good to go.  It just needs the state's money.

"It's a solid financing plan, because the University is involved in such a meaningful way," said Gray. 

Lexington Center Board Chair Brent Rice says the financial plan includes a 30-year lease agreement with UK. 

Senator Thayer says reading a signed lease would help loosen the state's purse strings.

A spokesperson for UK says administrators are anxious to talk with the city about what comes next.

Brent Rice says he's not sure what that is.  The Lexington Center Board meets Thursday to figure it out.

In the meantime, Mayor Gray says time is money, and the longer the project is delayed, the more expensive it could become.
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