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State Seal Commonwealth of Kentucky Lt. Governor Stephen B. Pence's Communication Office
Louisville Arena Task Force Challenged to ‘Think Big’ and Be Open-Minded As It Begins Its Work
Press Release Date:  May 23, 2005

Billy Reed
502-564-4270, ext. 168


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The blue-ribbon Task Force appointed by Governor Ernie Fletcher to make a recommendation on a new arena for Louisville was told to “think big” at its first meeting yesterday at the Frazier Arms Center in downtown Louisville.

Asked for comments by Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence, the Task Force chairman, Commerce Cabinet Secretary and Vice-Chairman Jim Host promised the public that the arena “will get done” and that it will be competitive with any facility in the nation.

“This is our chance to step up and do something important for Louisville and the commonwealth,” Host said. “Let’s think big. Why shouldn’t we?”
Lieutenant Governor Pence said he was confident the Task Force would meet Governor Fletcher’s deadline of October 1.

“We’ve all read and heard the public debate,” said the Lieutenant Governor.
“While there are many different opinions about the arena, there is virtual unanimity about building one now in order to spur Louisville’s economic development and make us a viable competitor with cities to the north and south of us.”

Reading a letter from Governor Fletcher, who is on an economic-development mission in Japan and China, Lieutenant Governor Pence stressed the following themes:

• The arena must always consider the needs of the University of Louisville.

• The citizen who can only afford to take his family to one major event a year should receive as much consideration as a corporation that can afford a luxury box.

• The process should be as “transparent” as possible.

• All viable locations and financing plans should be considered within the context of what’s best for Louisville and the commonwealth.

• The Task Force members should put aside any preconceived ideas and biases and be as open-minded as possible.

The Task Force will be working under the auspices of the Kentucky Sports Authority, an agency of the Commerce Cabinet. Its  work will be overseen by an Executive Committee consisting of Lieutenant Governor Pence (a non-voting member), U.S. Senator Mitch McMcConnell, U.S. Representative Anne Northup, and Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson.

Lieutenant Governor Pence also appointed the following four Working Groups:

• Need, Use Benefit – Secretary Host, chair; Tom Jurich, Celeste Lanier, Jim Patterson, and Bill Samuels.

• Site Analysis – John Hindman, chair; Metro Councilman Kelly Downard, Alice Houston, Eddy Roberts, and Bill Samuels.

• Governance – John Schnatter, chair; Ron Carmichle, Cissy Musselman, Jim Patterson, and Eddy Roberts.

• Finance – Alice Houston, chair; State Representative Larry Clark, Secretary Host, State Senator Dan Seum.

The Lieutenant Governor emphasized the importance of communication and cooperation.

“These are Working Groups, not silos,” he said. “You will note that some of the Task Force members are on more than one Working Group. We urge as many Task Force members as possible to attend Working Group meetings.”

The Task Force members received a packet of information that included basic facts about 10 arenas that have been built in the last 12 years. Secretary Host said the Task Force will visit some of these out-of-state facilities, as well as suggested sites in Jefferson County when they are narrowed down.

Pence said the next full meeting of the Task Force will be at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 13, at a site to be determined. Other meetings of the full group are tentatively scheduled for July 18, August 15, and Sept. 6.

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Last updated: Tuesday, May 24, 2005