Discussion of funding for the Rupp Arena Project consumed parts of two city council meetings yesterday afternoon at city hall. Rupp Project Manager Frank Butler took questions during a committee meeting and then before the full Council.
Discussion centered on the state legislature's decision not to provide 80 million dollars in financial support. Butler says state lawmakers wanted some assurance about city and University of Kentucky support. He says the financing plan calls for UK to contribute almost eleven million dollars annually for 30 years.
"We're basically asking the University to invest over 300 million dollars in Rupp over a 30 year period and they don't own it, you all do. We're asking the state to put in 80 million dollars and they don't own it, you all do. So what we're asking you to do is put 40 million dollars in an asset that belongs to you," said Butler.
Lexington Council members want more answers and involvement before making a monetary commitment to the Rupp Arena Project. The 300 million dollar project, which includes a new convention center, was discussed at two different meetings yesterday. Rupp Arena Project Manager Frank Butler says state officials would like to see city buy in as soon as possible.
"We anticipate that we will start our second full court press within about 30 days and we will start meeting with legislative leadership in June," added Butler.
Several Council members expressed concern about better information for the citizens of Lexington. Among them was Council member Kevin Stinnett.
"Disclose what the financial plan is publicly, so everyone can understand it. I think that's an important next step and that should be the next step," said Stinnett. "Not just the Council knowing, but the public."
Council set June 23rd as a date for a public meeting on the Rupp Arena project.