4:52pm

Thu May 22, 2014
Lexington/Richmond

Capilouto Letter Raises New Concerns About Rupp Project

A letter from the University of Kentucky President to the Chair of the Lexington Center Corporation is causing new debate about Lexington's Rupp Arena project.   Lexington Center Board Chair Brent Rice has been deeply involved in moving the Rupp/Convention Center project forward. 

In the letter dated May 20th, UK President Eli Capilouto expresses significant concerns about how financing for the 350 million dollar project has been handled. 

Credit Charles Bertram / Lexington Herald-Leader

He says his highest priority is transformation of University infrastructure.   Capilouto says a recent poll shows little enthusiasm for the project among Kentucky taxpayers. 

The UK President goes on to say that, "At this time there is not sufficient public support for committing over 350 million dollars in state, city and other funds to a basketball arena and convention center when there are so many well recognized educational, economic, and health care needs across Lexington and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray offered a statement Thursday afternoon, saying "Game-changing projects create passion and emotion, especially when things don't go as hoped, so I think it's important to step back, take a deep breath, and sit down with all our partners and work things out.  Lexington officials' request for 80 million dollars in state funding was not approved earlier this year.  Officials plan to go back to the state in 2015.​

Read the Lexington Herald-Leader's version of the story from Kentucky.com