Local News

Q Guest Criticizes Yum Center’s Name, Punctuation

New York-based writer Lauren Frey Daisley has given up snark for a month. She explained her decision on Q and said that it will stop her from making fun of the KFC Yum Center. She then criticized the name itself and the fact that Yum Brands uses an exclamation point in its name. (It’s technically Yum! Brands.)

Daisley certainly isn’t the first person to poke fun at the new arena’s name. But what are your thoughts? Is the ! extraneous?

Local News Next Louisville Politics

New Restaurant Receives City Loans

by Sheila Ash

A new restaurant funded in part with loans from Metro Government will open next week.

The city has given a $100 thousand low-interest loan and $20 thousand forgivable loan to a southern food and seafood establishment at Second and Main streets.

The restaurant is part of the nearly $20 million Whiskey Row project, which includes residential space as well. The development is down the street from the crumbling and controversial Iron Quarter buildings.

Local News

Plaque Honoring Abramson Placed Outside Arena

A plaque honoring outgoing Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson has been erected downtown.

A display commemorating Abramson’s work on the waterfront and the new arena was unveiled Friday at the corner of 2nd and Main streets. Abramson says the developments at that corner are an important part of his legacy.

“It will continue to be an exciting point for development and energy and excitement and events. I’m so touched. I’m so surprised,” he says.

The plaque was sponsored by the Waterfront Development Corporation and the Arena Authority. It was paid for personally by members of the authority.

“What we wanted to do was create something that talked about Jerry, connectivity and accessibility,” says WDC director David Karem.

Earlier this week, the Louisville International Airport Terminal was renamed to honor Abramson.

Local News

Arena Authority Anticipating Profits

by Sheila Ash

The Louisville Arena Authority expects the KFC Yum Center to make a profit in its first full year of operation.

The authority voted Monday to accept two proposed budgets that anticipate millions in extra revenue.

The capital budget calls for the authority to take in 1.4 million more than it will pay in debt service and the operating budget anticipates a 1.2 million dollar profit.

Arena Authority Chairman Jim Host says predictions are based on 94 events–including University of Louisville basketball games–that are currently scheduled or will be scheduled.

But Host says the firm hired to bring in concerts and events feels the facility can host even more acts per year.

“AEG says they think we can do 140,” he says. “And when they did the agreement with us and did the press conference with us they think we can do 140.  I’ll be happy if we do 110 and the budget’s based on 94, but if we did 140 it’s a big time home run.”

The budget also anticipates that Metro Government will pay 6.5 million dollars toward the arena’s debt. Host says the authority could repay up to 2.6 million dollars back to the city.

Local News

Arena Traffic Plan Released

Louisville Metro Government has released a traffic plan for this weekend’s Eagles concert.

The concert is the first event at the new KFC Yum! Center. The traffic plan is designed to get arena visitors from parking garages to the interstates or out of downtown on surface streets as quickly as possible. Mayor Jerry Abramson says, like the first Thunder Over Louisville, Saturday’s event will be a learning experience for the city and citizens.

“We’re going to try the plan as best we can right out of the box. We’ll learn, we’ll watch, we’ll listen, we’ll learn, we’ll tweak. And the next one will be a little better, and the next one will be a little better, and then, ultimately, people—as they have with Thunder—will figure out how they like to handle it, how early to come down, how to have dinner before the event,” he says.

About 75 police officers will work overtime to direct traffic. The Kentucky Fair Board will help pay for some of the costs. To see a map of the street plan for Saturday, visit the arena homepage. The TARC homepage has more information  on how to ride public transit to the arena.

Local News

Medical Care Center To Open In Arena

A new medical facility will open in Louisville’s downtown arena next week.

The KFC Yum Center officially opens Sunday, and on Monday, Norton Healthcare’s immediate care center inside the building will begin operations. Director of immediate care centers Anna Newkirk says it will keep regular daily hours and will be accessible, even during arena events.

“Patients can take a bus, walk or come with a car just a few blocks,” she says. “There are lots of parking garages around us. Our patients will have some dedicated spaces in the garage under the arena.”

Newkirk says the center will not necessarily be open during all arena events, but Norton will run the arena’s first aid stations.

Local News

Clark Memorial Bridge To Be Closed For Arena Work

The Clark Memorial Bridge will be closed Monday and Tuesday due to construction on the KFC Yum Center.

Crews need to put a crane on the bridge so they can put the Cardinal logo and other signs on the arena. The bridge will be closed from 7 pm to 5 am both days. Transportation Cabinet spokesperson Andrea Clifford says most motorists are likely accustomed to taking an alternate route when the bridge is closed for other reasons.

“The Clark Memorial Bridge is a route that a lot of organizations like to use for, you know, 5K runs and walks and the Iron Man and things such as that,” she says. “We get applications for the closure of that bridge, it’s usually for weekends like Saturday mornings or Sunday mornings when the traffic volumes are not as high.”

The bridge will remain open to pedestrian traffic all week.

Local News

AG Opinion: Arena Authority Violated Open Records Act

The Kentucky Attorney General’s office says the Louisville Arena Authority is in partial violation of the state’s Open Records Act.

In mid-April, Don Sherry sought access to personal information of employees of two subcontractors on the Louisville Arena project.

Sherry wanted the information because arena contract provisions require the use of local workers, including women and minorities, and the payment of prevailing wages.

While the attorney general’s office says the Arena Authority properly denied personal information like social security numbers and dates of birth, it improperly denied information like employees’ names, home zip codes, gender, race and pay rates.

The authority argued release of the data would violate privacy rights, but the AG’s office says the public’s interest in insuring the contract provisions on the partially publicly-funded arena are enforced outweigh any privacy concerns.

Any party aggrieved by the opinion may appeal to circuit court.

A spokesperson says the Arena Authority will not have any comment until they have a chance to review the opinion.

Local News

Arena Public Art Announcement Expected Soon

by Gabe Bullard

The KFC Yum Center will open in about four months, and a proposed public art project for the arena has not yet been announced. But officials say the Arena Authority will soon unveil a concept for art that will be installed in the arena’s concourse.

The authority put out a request for proposals last year, asking artists for submissions that would depict Louisville as a “city on the move.” They received 75 proposals and asked for more details on five of them in December.

At that time, Arena Authority chairman Jim Host told WFPL no money had been raised to finance the project because he wanted to approach potential investors after he had an idea of what the art would look like.

He added that he hoped to have an artist chosen by February. No announcement has yet been made, but Kentucky Fair Board President Harold Workman said this week that a decision is forthcoming.

“We will have it soon, because it’s not long until October. Those decisions will be finalized relatively in the near future.”

The art display’s anticipated budget is $200 thousand.

Local News

Ground Broken On 2nd Street Plaza

by Gabe Bullard

A $3 million renovation project for the area underneath the Clark Memorial Bridge is underway.

2nd Street underneath the bridge will be turned into a two-way street, with pedestrian amenities on both sides. Lights will be installed on the underside of the bridge to make the area more inviting.

Mayor Jerry Abramson says the renovations are part of the ongoing efforts to make the area around the KFC Yum Center more accessible for drivers and pedestrians before the arena opens in October.

“We’re enhancing the sidewalks and streetscapes on the Main Street side going toward the west with folks coming that park on the west and also on the south. So we’ll have ease of access no matter which way you’re coming to the arena,” he says.

Governor Steve Beshear says the area under the bridge needs to be made more attractive.

“Right now the three blocks of roadway in the shadow of the Clark Memorial Bridge, here, is a dark and uninviting place,” he says. “There’s not much to bring and keep you here, and once you’re here, it’s not easy to get around, no matter if you are driving or walking.”

The project will be funded with a $2.4 million grant from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and $600 thousand from the Louisville city budget.