Lt. Governor Stephen B.Pence's Communication Office
Louisville Arena Task Force Close To Hiring Consultant, Hears From Four Site Advocates
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Louisville Arena Task Force moved a step closer to hiring a consultant yesterday and heard presentations by four groups with a vested interest in the type of the new all-purpose arena that will be built in Kentucky’s largest city and where it will be located.
Of three consulting firms that answered a request for proposal from the task force, two were invited by a screening committee to make presentations at yesterday’s meeting.
After hearing from representations of the two firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Lieb Group – the Task Force went into closed meeting to discuss which firm to tell the screening committee to begin negotiating with.
The identity of the consultant is expected to be announced at the Task Force Public Hearing on Monday, June 20, at the Kentucky International Convention Center.
After dispensing with that business, the Task Force heard presentations from Mayor Jerry Abramson, a member of the Task Force’s Executive Committee; the Downtown Development Corp., Greater Louisville, Inc., the University of Louisville, and the Kentucky State Fair Board.
The Mayor, the DDC, and GLI favored a downtown site. The two mentioned were the Blue family property on the Ohio River and the old Water Company property bordered by Second, Third, Liberty, and Muhammad Ali streets.
U of L, which was represented by President Jim Ramsey, Board of Trustees Chairman Junior Bridgeman, and Athletics Director Tom Jurich favored an on-campus site. One possible site mentioned was the one where the Ralston-Purina silos now sit.
Harold Workman, president of the State Fair Board, made a case for tearing down the old Cardinal Stadium and building the new arena at the Fairgrounds, next to Freedom Hall. He pointed out that the state already owned the land and that only 10 new employees would have to be added to the payroll to take care of a new arena.
After the four presentations, Commerce Cabinet Secretary Jim Host, vice-chairman of the Task Force, said that the group will conduct a one-day tour Thursday via private airplane. to study the arenas in Indianapolis, Memphis, and Nashville.
Hours after the meeting adjourned, reporter Joe Gerth of The Courier-Journal said the newspaper’s attorney had decided the Task Force was in violation of state law by going into closed session.
However, Ellen Benzing, executive director of legal affairs for the Commerce Cabinet, contended the Task Force was well within its legal boundaries.
The next meeting of the full Task Force will be on Monday, July 18.