Budget Committee Approves Center City Funds

by Gabe Bullard on October 1, 2008

After twice being tabled, an ordinance authorizing the purchase of land for Louisville’s Center City project has left committee.

The measure will go before the full Metro Council next week. It gives the city the authority to spend several million dollars in bonds to purchase the so-called Water Company block downtown. The land would then be leased to the Baltimore-based Cordish Company to extend their 4th Street Live entertainment district.

The Metro Council Budget Committee had previously tabled the ordinance to wait for more precise information on the city’s development deal with Cordish. In Wednesday’s committee meeting, Mayor’s office liaison Jim McGovern said there was no more time to wait.

“In today’s economy, to have this kind of deal put forth on the table is a remarkable thing,” he said. “It’s a remarkable kind of faith in our community as opposed to many others.”

Councilman Hal Heiner also cited the shaky economy, but in opposition to the measure.

“Who would have guessed six months ago that we’d have the kind of changes we’re seeing in the country right now – banks being bought by other banks and all kinds of things going on,” said Heiner. “Nobody can predict the future. Nobody can predict who the future leaders of Cordish are going to be a week from now or a year from now or two years from now.”

Four of the committee’s five Republicans were the only votes against the measure. Republican Kelly Downard did not support or oppose the measure, voting present All Democrats present voted for the ordinance. They outnumber Republicans in the full council 15 to 11.

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