Local News Noise & Notes

UPDATE II: Arena Authority Owes Over $55,000 in Taxes

Records from the Jefferson County Clerk’s office show the Louisville Arena Authority owes the city over $55,000 in delinquent property taxes for year 2010.

Established by the Metro Council in 2006, the quasi-government agency was created to oversee constructing of the $238 million KFC Yum Center, which opened six months ago in the bosom of downtown Louisville.

The authority now supervises the arena’s day-to-day operations and features a who’s who list of local business leaders on its board of directors. According to local tax records, however, the authority currently owes $55,319 if paid by the end of May. If not, another interest penalty will be added and increase the delinquent tax to $55,919.

From LEO Weekly:

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Officials Pleased With Arena’s First Month Of Operation

The people who run Louisville’s new downtown arena say there haven’t been any major problems with traffic and parking during its first month of operation.

Arena Authority Chairman Jim Host says it appears most people who have attended concerts and athletic events at the KFC YUM! Center found a suitable parking spot near the site.

“I think what’s happened is that a lot of people have figured out that you can park two or three blocks from the arena and walk, and that’s what people are doing…the arena garage hasn’t been totally full yet,” he said.

Host also credits Louisville Metro Police with keeping traffic moving, even when there are events at nearby venues such as the Kentucky Center and Actor’s Theatre.

Local News Next Louisville

Officials Cut Ribbon On New Arena

Louisville’s new downtown arena is now officially open for business. A ribbon-cutting for the new facility was held Sunday.

Officials threw open the doors of the KFC YUM! Center to the public after an hourlong ceremony during which Governor Steve Beshear noted the diverse events the 22,000 seat arena will hold in the coming months.

“The Eagles, Lady Gaga, championship ladies’ volleyball, four religious conventions, a home for the University of Louisville’s Cardinals,” he said.

Men’s coach Rick Pitino told the crowd that he initially had doubts that the project would ever get off the ground.

“Then (arena authority chariman) Jim Host got involved and I knew it had a chance, and then they were haggling over the site, everybody had their individual agendas for that. Fortunately, reasonable minds came to the decision to put it on the river, and as you look at the place when you get inside, you realize what a great site it is,” he said.              

Indide the arena, hundreds of people took the opportunity to mill around and try out the seats. Among them was U of L fan Gary Stratton.

“I love it. I love (being) next to the river. The river view is great,” he said.

The first major event in the arena will be a concert by the Eagles next Sunday.

Public tours of the arena will be conducted on October 19.


Local News Next Louisville Politics

Urban League Touts Hiring Program

By Sheila Ash

The Louisville Urban League has released a report showing the success of a new workforce training program.

The program, called the KentuckianaWorks Construction Pipeline Project brings together state and local government as well as local non-profits, labor and civil rights groups to ensure minority and local inclusion on major construction projects.

Mayor Jerry Abramson says it provides people a chance at landing a good paying job.

“So it really is an exciting opportunity for folks to step back and realize that close to 300 people went through the project. That over 100 people are working on it as we speak. And that as the economy begins to turn and begins to move forward, we’ll have even more folks who are trained and ready to go to work,” he said.

The first test of the program was in hiring for the new arena, which met or surpassed its goals of 20 percent employment going to minorities, five percent to women and 60 percent to local workers.

Local News Next Louisville

Grand Opening Of New Arena Is Next Month

The Louisville Arena Authority is making plans for next month’s opening of the city’s new downtown arena.

Authority Chairman Jim Host says final touches are being applied to the riverfront facility in anticipation of an October 10 ribbon cutting.

“Vice-Chairman (Larry) Hayes and I took an inspection tour that lasted a long time Friday afternoon. We went through every single inch of that place, to look for any last minute changes that we felt needed to be made. we didn’t find anything major at all,” he said.

Host says the authority will soon launch a communications campaign on traffic and parking around the arena.

A concert by the Eagles will be the first official arena event on October 16. Public tours of the facility will be held October 19 and 20. They’re free, but tickets must be obtained. They will be available starting October 11 at Ticketmaster, the Kentucky Exposition Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center.

Local News Next Louisville

Public Tours, Other Events Set For New Arena

As workers apply the final touches to Louisville’s new downtown arena, plans are being made for several events related to its grand opening in just under two months.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on October 10.

The arena doors will be opened for free public tours on October 19 and 20th.

“People can go on line at Ticketmaster, said Arena Authority Chairman Jim Host. “We’re going to take 10,000 per day. They’re free tickets, there’s no Ticketmaster fee, but people have to have tickets.

There will also be a $100 per ticket gala for three thousand people featuring the Louisville Orchestra.

Host says the facility remains under budget, with just under $1 million remaining in a contingency fund for unexpected expenses.

“For example, somebody inadvertantly punches a hole in a wall, while we were finishing. Cleaning that is done, and we go through an inspect it and determine cleaning isn’t as good as we want. There’s all kind of things will eat up the balance of the money, but we won’t have to go ask anybody for money to finish,” he said.

The arena will be the new home of the University of Louisville basketball teams.    

Local News Next Louisville

Arena Opening Just Over Two Months Away

The head of construction for Louisville’s new downtown arena says the project has presented some unique challenges.

Bill Hedge is project manager for Mortensen Construction, which is building the 22,000 seat arena. He talked about those challenges during a media tour of the facility Thursday.

This is the seventh arena project he’s overseen. He says the facility’s downtown location and relatively tight work area have made it an interesting job.

“Geez, all the public events that are held in downtown Louisville. I get notification every week from the mayor’s office about special events, and they always want to have them concentric around the arena. The (Clark Memorial) bridge, Second Street, we are really building in a box canyon,” he said.

Hedge says the final permanent seats are being installed in the arena, now called the KFC Yum! Center, to be followed by furniture and fixtures in the club areas, including 450 flat-screen televisions.

The new arena’s primary tenants will be the University of Louisville basketball teams. It will be opened for public tours in October. The first event will be a concert by the Eagles on October 10.


(Photos, from top —arena floor, view from the front concourse, another view of the arena floor, and the arena as seen from Main Street)

Local News Next Louisville

Public Art Piece Chosen For New Arena

The Louisville Arena Authority has commissioned a large piece of public art that will hang in the new KFC Yum! Center.

An artist selection committee chose a proposal from Al Price of Phoenix.

Panel chair and Kentucky Arts Council Executive Director Lori Meadows says Price’s 200 foot sculpture was chosen from 74 applications. It will be installed on the Third Street side of the arena concourse.

“It hangs from the ceiling and will run the entire length of the corridor. It’s composed of fifty open metal panels that are all built from individual stainless steel tubes,” she told the authority at its Monday meeting.

Officials say 23 of the 74 proposals came from Kentucky artists, including 11 in Louisville.

The sculpture will cost just over $200,000.

Local News Next Louisville

Six More Arena Sponsors Announced

By Rick Howlett

The Louisville Arena Authority has lined up more sponsorships for the new facility at Second and Main Streets.

Officials announced Monday that partnerships have been signed with Woodford Reserve bourbon, Kentucky Ale, OfficeWare, E.ON U.S, Klosterman Bakery and JBS Swift.

Woodford Reserve and Kentucky Ale will have their names attached to a lounge and sports bar in the arena; the others will have signage throughout the facility. OfficeWare will also provide copiers and printing services.

Arena Authority Chairman Jim Host says the latest deals are worth $4.6 million.

“There are still a number of signs to sell. There are still a number of naming opportunities inside to sell. But we’re much further that I ever thought we would be at this point,” he said.

So far the authority has secured about $44 million in sponsorships, including a ten year, $13.5 million agrement to name the arena the KFC Yum! Center.   

The facililty is scheduled to open in November.  

(Photos by Linda Doane/Louisville Arena Authority)

Local News Next Louisville

Milestone Marked On New Arena Construction

By Rick Howlett

Construction of Louisville’s new downtown arena reached a turning point Monday with a topping off ceremony at the facility.             

A large beam signed by construction workers, government officials and University of Louisville leaders was hoisted to the top of the arena, signifying the final piece of structural steel to be put into place.

Among the speakers was Governor Steve Beshear, who said the facility has already begun to generate new business ahead of its opening.

“Two major conventions, expected to create $10 million in local spending and bring 30,000 people to Louisville, have already been landed. In addition, the arena will be the site of the NCAA Division I national women’s volleyball championship,” Beshear said.

The arena is scheduled to open November 1, five years after a task force was appointed by then-Governor
Ernie Fletcher to get the project moving. Mayor Jerry Abramson says there were some at the time who doubted that enough money or political will could be generated to make it a reality.

“Some people criticized our plan to put the arena downtown on the site of a power plant. It would cost too much they said, it was too dangerous to relocate the power lines. We proved them wrong and showed that it was possible in Louisville, Kentucky,” Abramson said.

The arena’s primary tenants will be the University of Louisville basketball teams.