The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council voted 12-2 Thursday to nix a special Monday night meeting to discuss the now-defunct $351 million Rupp Arena renovation project.
Council members Ed Lane and Chris Ford wanted to continue with the meeting, which was supposed to give the council its first opportunity to ask questions about the renovation project. Lane and Ford said they thought project details should be made public.
Mayor Jim Gray announced Wednesday that he was suspending the project after the city and the University of Kentucky, Rupp's marquee tenant, could not agree on its scope.
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"When something goes wrong, it can be an opportunity to figure out where we went off track," Lane said. In an email to fellow council members, Lane also pointed out that the issue of redeveloping Rupp Arena and the attached convention center probably would return, and a full public debate on what happened would be valuable. But several council members said they thought they could discuss some of those issues during a regular meeting.
As part of its motion to cancel Monday's meeting, the council agreed to discuss how it will repay $2.5 million in state funds that went toward the project's design. The city does not have to repay the $2.5 million right away.
About $5.5 million was allocated in city, state and private funds for planning and design, but not all of that money has been spent. About $650,000 remains, including $313,000 in city funds.
Council member Kevin Stinnett, who made the motion to add the repayment of the $2.5 million to the agenda of the next Budget and Finance Committee meeting, said the city needed to discuss what would happen to the unspent funds. The committee will likely discuss the repayment Aug. 26.