Rupp renovation discussion includes repayment to state

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The project came to a halt.

So should Lexington city leaders pay back the money they've already received from the state, for proposed Rupp Arena renovations?

The Urban County Council discussed that during a meeting this afternoon. The discussion began with a look at where that $4,500,000 had gone.

"We basically have closed out all the contracts with all the folks that we have contracts with, they've all been paid," Frank Butler, a project manager, says.

Architects, legal teams, feasibility studies and other expenses had to be paid for. The project manager says much of that work is still usable if a project to develop High Street goes forward.

"It's good, current and can be used if we want to pursue development of the High Street lot," Butler says.

$2,500,000 came from the state, originally from a coal severance fund.

"My question is I ought we came with the agreement that we were going to be two participants in this process and we're going to do two and a half and the state would do two and a half," Chuck Ellinger, a council member, says.

While that was part of the original agreement, that agreement was changed.

"It became an issue that was volatile and we felt it was worth the commitments to keep the project moving forward to say the coal severance money would be repaid," Jamie Emmon, the Mayor's Chief of Staff, says.

Several council members wanted to know when that $2,500,000 would have to be paid back if the Rupp Arena project never moves forward.

"Would it still be required and assumed that we have to pay back moneys for a grant agreement that we entered into in good faith?" Chris Ford, a council member, asks.

A timeline for that repayment hasn't been established, but the debt is still out there.

The money in question originally came from a coal severance fund, however, the state paid the fund back.

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