Franklin County Magistrate Michael Mueller’s recent call for more communication between city and county elected leaders on shared functions like economic development was music to our ears.
The Franklin County Fiscal Court and Frankfort City Commission should meet jointly at least twice a year to discuss shared priorities for the community. Keeping each other in the loop will prevent miscommunication such as what nearly derailed redevelopment of the former Capital Plaza land known as Parcels B and C.
Mueller should lead by example with his pet project: the county’s consideration of a large events venue at Lakeview Park.
Any first-rate replacement for the demolished Frankfort Convention Center will require the support of all local governmental entities. If it proves to be financially feasible at all, Frankfort and Franklin County can only afford to build and operate one such facility, so cooperation is essential.
To date, city government has been excluded from discussions about the project, which is being studied by an out-of-state consulting firm at a cost of nearly $200,000.
The fiscal court shouldn’t stop with the city commission in becoming more inclusive. Kentucky State University’s consideration of moving up to big-time sports competition — the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s Division 1 — could be enhanced by a first-rate arena in Frankfort.
KSU’s participation in the project just might be the ticket to state funding that would never happen if the county goes it alone on an events venue.
A multipurpose arena that hosted the Thorobreds’ indoor athletic events as well as community functions and tourist draws like concerts and rodeos just might generate enough revenue to fund its own operations and maintenance, taking pressure off property owners, who already carry one of the region’s highest tax burdens.
We support Mueller’s call for a joint discussion of future Kentucky Capital Development Corp. funding, but the agenda shouldn’t stop there. City-county dialogue is needed on a long list of topics.