Lexington leaders discuss Rupp renovations

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - City leaders got an up close look at the proposal for a new state of the art Rupp Arena during Tuesday morning's meeting of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council.

Many of the council members were at Monday's unveiling, but they had their own presentation Tuesday, just to be sure they were all clear on the project as it stands.They had the chance to ask questions to the design team.

The $310,000,000 redesign was unveiled at a lavish news conference on Monday. The changes would transform Rupp Arena and Lexington Center over the next three and a half years. The renovation would bring modern amenities like Wi-Fi and seatback chairs throughout the arena. It would also make Rupp stand out from the rest of the convention center, expanding its footprint by 25 feet on each side.

The details of how the project would be funded are still unclear. Governor Steve Beshear has included $65M in bonds to fund the renovation in his proposed state budget for the year, but there would still be a whole lot of money to make up before reaching the $310M mark. City leaders say they're not ready to start talking numbers just yet.

"It's a little early. It's really premature. We need to find out first if the legislature's going to include what the governor's asked, the $65M. Then we need to see the funding plan that the consultants are going to bring," said Vice Mayor Linda Gorton.

The design team says construction would begin in the first quarter of 2015 and finish by fall 2017. City leaders say the arena would continue to function throughout the renovation.


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