By Coleman Larkin
Gov. Steve Beshear's administration is taking $2.5 million from coal severance tax funds, money meant for economic development in coal-producing counties, and giving it to Lexington to help pay for the planning and design of a Rupp Arena entertainment district.
That decision was written into the state budget by Kentucky lawmakers at the end of the 2012 legislative session.
Here are a few more questionable projects they tried to sneak in for Lexington:
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■ $4 million to have all one-way streets converted to two-way streets and then converted back to one-way streets.
■ $50 for a sidewalk chalk rendering of the mimosa Jim Gray drank for brunch.
■ $600,000 for a food truck "quarantine zone" on the outskirts of town where food trucks are allowed to set up for no more than 20 consecutive minutes between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on odd-numbered calendar days that are divisible by three.
■ $1.2 million for construction of a Bike Polo Hall of Fame, including a perpetual flame memorial to everyone who's gotten their handlebar mustache caught in their actual handlebars.
■ $300 to replace stolen red leather jacket from Thriller reenactment.
■ $1,500 for everybody on the Urban County Council to get matching koi fish tattoos.
■ $75,000 for HerBS + KLEEEM Stud.E.O.n.o.V8shunz Arkitex COLLECTv to draft preliminary three-dimensional schematics for a carbon-neutral mass transport "hyper-tube" hub to replace downtown hansom cab tours.
■ $5,000 for more hansom cabs.
■ $30,000 to commission public art piece "Free Your Mind (A Giant Pile of Rusty Metal)".
■ $250,000 for the Equine Education Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps retired racehorses get their GED.
■ $500,000 to the Distillery District for something that sounds good on paper.
■ $1.6 million for a 10-mile-long pedway connecting Rupp Arena directly to a bowl of Cheddar's loaded potato soup.
■ $15,000 for a 12-year-old to show LexTran how to set up a Facebook page.
■ $8,000 for gnarly community co-ed kickball team logos.
■ $1 Redbox fee to rent Toy Story 2 for "Free Friday Flicks" at Jacobson Park.
■ $35 in late fees for Toy Story 2.
Coleman Larkin of Pikeville is a cook and comedian who has lived in Lexington.