Arena compromise on site was correct


Daily News, Bowling Green

Language in the state budget on the House side specifying where a Louisville arena should be built should not have been included.

Thankfully, a House-Senate committee struck the language from the budget Sunday. The House had wanted to build the arena at the site of the former Louisville Water Co. property.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher had earlier appointed 17 members to the Louisville Arena Task Force to find a proper site for the new arena.

They devoted considerable time to site selection and in September voted 16-1 to build the arena on a riverfront site at Second and Main streets.

Their decision should have been heeded and the provision on site selection should have never been included in the House version of the budget. It was presumptuous of the House to attempt to substitute its judgment for that of a group that had studied the matter in depth.

We do believe the House meant well by wanting to help select a site. The site preferred by the House was estimated to be $114 million less to develop than the one selected by the committee.

So their heart was certainly in the right place.

Yet the $75 million the state will contribute represents no more than a down payment. Louisville must issue bonds to cover the balance, regardless of which site is selected. Obviously, the arena task force believed there were considerations that outweighed the higher cost of their site.

Jim Host, former state commerce secretary and vice chairman of the arena task force, welcomed the Houses withdrawal of the site selection provision.

Its certainly good news to the members of the task force who examined all of the alternatives. I compliment the House and Senate for working it out, Host said.

It is well that a compromise was worked out on an issue as important and somewhat controversial as this one.

Were still not sure that $75 million was the best use of scarce state revenue, but it was the General Assemblys decision to make.

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