FRANKFORT — Even before it opens its doors in the fall of 2010, the new arena in downtown Louisville has landed two major religious conferences, bringing an economic impact of $10 million to the state's largest city.
Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson announced Friday that the availability of the arena and the adjacent Kentucky International Convention Center will bring a Church of the Nazarene youth conference to Louisville in July 2011 and a United Pentecostal youth conference to the city in August 2013.
The Nazarene conference will attract 12,000 visitors, and the Pentecostal gathering will bring 20,000 visitors to the city.
At a news conference in the Capitol, Beshear said the arena was built to create a new home for University of Louisville basketball and to create economic development by attracting visitors and events to downtown Louisville.
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"It's already paying off on the economic development front," Beshear said. "These conventions are, I am confident, just a start."
Beshear also announced that Louisville is receiving a $3 million grant to improve the city's Second Street between Main and River Road.
Of that, $2.4 million will come from the state Transportation Cabinet and $600,000 from the city.
The grant is to enhance the historic architectural features, streetscapes and lighting near the new arena.