Layoffs at Rupp Arena/Lexington Convention Center

Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The financial impact of the pandemic is claiming more victims as the Lexington Center Corporation announces full-time workers will be laid-off this summer.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports 53 employees will be laid-off effective July 30, 2020.  More than 100 workers were furloughed earlier this spring.

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The furloughs and layoffs are the result of no new money coming in since events have been canceled at Rupp Arena, the Convention Center and Opera House due to the coronavirus.

The report says the Lexington Center Corporation board agreed to try to get a $2.75 million loan to cover operating expenses and stay afloat.

The report says the Lexington Center Corporation is asking the city for help to restructure debt payments owed on its $275 million expansion.  Officials say the expansion is currently on track and could be completed by late 2021.

The Lexington Center Corporation board also voted to restructure its expansion loans so the group could borrow more money to make debt payments for three years, according to the report.  The refinancing would have to be approved by the Urban County Council, which could be presented the proposal as early as next week, according to the report.

The newspaper report says the $33 million in new borrowing would largely go to paying off previous loans for the next three years.  The city would be responsible for $1.6 million in additional interest payments as part of the refinancing, if the Lexington Center Corporation couldn’t make those payments.

The Lexington Center is a subsidiary of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.  The city owns the building and leases it back to the Lexington Center.  The Lexington Center does not receive any direct money from the city’s general fund, according to the report.

The Lexington Center expansion is scheduled to include a new addition, a ballroom, more exhibit hall space, meeting rooms, a new lobby and a new two-story building along Main Street, according to the report.


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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.