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Just Build the New Arena Already!


After a long hiatus, over the past year I have found myself reintroduced to corporate America thanks to my gigs with Insight Cable (KSTV) and Clear Channel Radio (KSR Radio). In the three prior years, I had essentially worked solely for myself in the legal/blog world and that lifestyle had basically made me immune to any type of bureaucracy that was not self-created. When business takes place at a KSR corporate meeting, it generally involves Drew trying desperately to stay awake or getting Hubby to stop showing the group pictures of him shirtless on the beach. We only meet when required and even then, 75% of the time is spent laughing and telling Billy Gillispie stories. But the corporate world as a whole doesn’t follow that lead. Corporations and government primarily exist to create a series of meetings and “review sessions”, some of which are fortunately accompanied by donuts/pizza. These meetings may accomplish little, but they make everyone involved feel better and often include Powerpoint. Nothing can be decided without many people talking and rationality/efficiency will always be sacrificed for the glory of red tape. I am fortunate to have found bosses who allow me to escape most corporate drudgery in television and radio, but when it shows up, I feel the need to immediately pull my (bad) hair out.

This feeling of needless adherence to bureaucracy is also driving the current delay in movement in the building of a new Rupp Arena. Make no mistake about it, the only rational decision for UK and Lexington is to build a new Rupp Arena. Rupp Arena is a graying, dreary facility that we as Kentucky fans only really love because of the memories that have taken place within it. There is not a historical architectural or ambiance component to Rupp (a la Phog Allen Fieldhouse or Cameron Indoor) and it has virtually none of the bells and whistles of the new generation of basketball facilities. The University desperately wants to move in a new direction and while they are forced publicly to support the desire for more study, their position privately is clear. Unfortunately the city of Lexington’s reaction to this situation has been to create one of the worst forms of government/private partnership excess…the dreaded “Task Force” for further study.

In case you have been under a rock, in late March, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray created a city Task Force to look into options for a new downtown arena. The options were basically (a) build a new arena, (b) renovate Rupp Arena, (c) lose the next election. The task force was to spend NINE MONTHS studying which plan best suited the city, while also looking into what has worked in other areas. As part of the task force’s work (which recently added its 47TH MEMBER…a number that is ridiculous on the surface, but even more so when one considers that none are on the Task Force to represent the UK fan perspective), a number of other sites have been visited and meetings have been had, where I am sure someone brought Chik-Fil-A and Starbucks. The first draft of whatever findings the group has made are to be announced on September 7th, with the final recommendation coming in 2012. Estimated total cost? $350,000, with no release that I have seen detailing how that money is actually being spent (hopefully at least part is going to commemorative t-shirts for all 47 members).

And what will this group determine? Well unless they let everyone’s favorite curmudgeon Jerry Tipton have the final say, the Task Force will almost certainly decide that Lexington must have a new arena. Financially it is the only option that makes sense. Lexington is now in the unenviable position of having a second-rate facility as the centerpiece of its efforts to attract concerts, conventions and events to the area, while competing against one of the nicest new arenas in America just an hour down the road. The basketball program that is one of the key driving economic forces in the city is left without luxury suites, leaving serious amounts of revenue on the table for the city and harming the University’s ability to fund its other athletic programs. Were the Task Force to come to a different conclusion, it would risk running averse to the most popular citizen in the Commonwealth (John Calipari) and committing huge amounts of money to the renovation of a building that will only grow more out of date by the year. All 47 people know this and absent whatever amount of its members represent the “only build something if it will house cultural progressive events that will be attended by literally dozens” lobby, nearly every one will recommend a new building be built.

So what are we waiting for? With the need obvious and delay only allowing those in the relevance-dwindling newspaper industry to have more time to disagree with its conclusion, why can’t we abandon this silly process and simply began planning for the new jewel of college basketball? The answer is simple. The entire Task Force exists for the decision makers to have “cover your ass” immunity. When the decision to build is ultimately reached, a large price tag will be announced, bearded hippies in Birkenstocks will protest with poorly made signs and back room deals for bidding preference will be agreed upon, there will have to be some excuse to which those in charge can point, absolving them of all responsibility. By creating a 47-person mega group of “corporate leaders”, the local government and business heads can say, “hey we are just following the recommendation…don’t blame us if you don’t like its conclusion!” We will learn exactly nothing from this Task Force that we couldn’t have already found out from a thorough Google search and a list of phone numbers of a set of city planners/economists. But the Task Force allows a rational and efficient decision to become one mangled by corporate group think, with the added benefit of delay and lack of responsibility.

A new Lexington arena will instantly become the centerpiece of the city and one of the most important pieces of real estate in the Commonwealth. Such a facility needs to be state of the art and modern, not simply a patch work of change on a 1970s building that isn’t even all that aesthetically pleasing today. It will require leaders willing to showcase vision and a desire to move the city forward, not simply have a built-in excuse if things go wrong. A new Rupp Arena should be the crowning jewel of college basketball and the best such facility in any mid-size city like Lexington in America. That can happen, but only if those leaders in charge quickly get away from the “47 member Task Force mentality” and showcase the leadership necessary to effectuate actual change for the betterment of the University and the city.

Article written by Matt Jones

88 Comments for Just Build the New Arena Already!

  1. IL Cats Fan
    9:03 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink


  2. WildcatsOne
    9:09 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Even if it has 300 luxury suites…it still has to have the largest seating capacity in the country. It also has to be bigger than Rupp. Make it 25,000, and all is fine. Make it 30,000, and we will be Kings forever.

  3. Jefferson Holt
    9:14 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Matt, can we get a brief here? Cries sake fella; Cliff’s notes please.

    9:14 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Either build a new arena or renovate Rupp Arena so much that it seems new and fresh.

  5. Ghostofbearbryant
    9:16 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Jones- you’re right, it’s a quagmire. Best to go ahead and put the basketball nonsense behind us and join the rest of our league in pursuit of football excellence!

  6. SaggyWheels
    9:17 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    @2 dumb and young, apparently . @3 bigger and more occupants doesn’t mean better.

  7. KentuckyHouse
    9:17 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Well-said, Matt. I couldn’t agree more. Rupp was a great arena…in the 70’s. Now, it’s outdated, ugly, cramped, and most regular fans would just as soon stay home and watch the games in HD rather than deal with the crowded hallways and bench seating.

    While we’re at it, though, let me direct a little venom at #2. The Truth? You don’t speak for the “real” fans and you damn sure don’t speak for me. This is where we are now? Tubby isn’t around anymore to bash, so now it’s fashionable to bash those that supported him? No. Tubby was a class-act, right until the end, in the face of ignorant “fans” like yourself. Damn straight I supported him and I continue until this day. That being said, yes, I saw the writing on the wall and knew it was time for a change. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t support him.

    It’s funny…while you hear the funny stories and light bashing when it comes to Gillispie, in only 2 years it seems he’s become somewhat of a sideshow for UK fans. Eh, yeah, he was a mistake, but now we’re on the right path. We generally just laugh at him. But Tubby…wow…you mention his name and people can spew hate for hours. I wonder why that is? You can infer from that what you will.

  8. GEN
    9:18 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Once again, this only takes the fan perspective of wanting a new toy without any consideration for how to pay for it. Lexington has to look into a major redesign of 40+ acres of city owed property that could radically change the dynamics of the city. Historically Lexington has not been successful at taking advantage of land planning – instead we just jumped in and started building. Only years later, the need for a redesign would result in massive public expenditures that could have been avoided. But sure, let’s call out the city officials for studying and planning instead of just a reflex jump and rush to build an arena because they built one up the road.

  9. serdi
    9:18 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    I begrudgingly agree. I do take offense at the historic and architecture comments regarding Allen and Cameron. Neither held a candle to OUR Memorial Coliseum in the state it was in its final season before Rupp opened up. The biggest mistake UK ever made was not expanding while keeping the integrity of Memorial Coliseum. The grand lady of college basketball venues, and sadly so many on this blog don’t remember its glory.

  10. Matt Jones
    9:22 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    #9..but the point is that it Memorial isnt open anymore, so you deal with what you have.

    #8 that would all be well and good if what the Force was actually doing was studying to determine whether or not to actually change the dynamics of the city…I dont believe that in a second, because if they were, the system would be quite different. It would not be a 47 person board, comprised of the folks that are on the Force, but would instead be given to experts in the field. That is not what is happening. We are essentially going on tour buses of other facilities with people who arent experts in city planning, or the like.

    I am all for actual study that makes sense. 47 person Task Forces with prominent people in the community is not such a study

  11. Young Money
    9:30 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    8) Announce you will build it- and will be taking 6 months to generate a study of ‘how’ and not ‘if.’ Nobody is advocating rushing the planning construction… just the inevitable decision.
    As for the financials.. takes money to make money baby. Check out the latest report on the UL budget- ticket revenues exceeding the initial projections and generating record income.
    Speaking of revenues- I’m sitting on a pile of cash earmarked for my K Fund donation. Not a chance in hell I shoot my wad on the current Rupp plan only to be hit up again with the new arena. I have to believe I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, so others must be in a similar wait and see approach. Whether or not there will be ‘floodgates opening’ with the announcement of a new arena, I don’t know, but there will be a noticeable rally of new funding.
    9) I hope you were able to make the NIT game. Brought her back for one final swan song.

  12. CouisinsforPrresident
    9:33 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    The fact is Mitch Barnhart is no Tom Jurich. I hate uofl with a passion, but Jurich is far superior to Mitch. This won’t get done as long as Mitch is running the show.

  13. Your Mom
    9:38 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    They should turn Rupp Arena into a litter box so I can find a place to piss other than Mitch Barnfart’s lawn.

    Maybe we could talk about how stupid the people who are making the decisions are. You thought George Bush was a goof, you should see how much money these buffoons waste and on all the people they hire to do their job (cause they are in over their head).

    So eventually the new arena will be designed by people who were born 1000 miles (or more) from Lexington who have no pulse of the town, the people, the culture, or the basketball.

    I say let Calipari design it (with assistance of architects). I bet he’s been in more arenas than all the city and UK admins combined.

  14. Sheeeeiiit
    9:39 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Matt I thought you leaned left, which makes me think you like a good beurocracy. A good think tank can solve the worlds problems right? No, OK I agree. This was a good post. I agree with what you are saying here. Too much talk and not enough building. They need make a choice between renovation or building a new arena. To spend that much cash on a group deciding just makes the whole thing look fixed.

    9:42 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    never show up. word press is turrible.

  16. Jimmy dykes says
    9:44 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Drive the nail, into a new arena. Rim running in Rupp part deaux.

    Well written post matt if you talked as well you would be on tv with me.

  17. El dude
    9:46 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    If there are suites, then we will lose at least 3,000 seats for basketball. The only good thing about suites is that it might help lexington get more concerts and events. I am not convinced a new arena is needed. Name one recruit that has ever said, “you know, I’d go to uk if there were more suites and seatbacks.”

  18. catsincebirth
    9:47 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Excellent piece Matt.
    I love Rupp just as I loved Memorial coliseum
    but the seating is way to cramped in the upper level.
    Is it possible to increase the seating and still have good
    and comfortable viewing?

  19. OneAndDone
    9:48 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    You being a self proclaimed liberal democrat, I find it ironic that these “bureaucracies” *cough government would frustrate you so much? Isn’t bigger better?

  20. Mike
    9:50 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink


    I respect most of what you have done. However, what in the hell do you know about athletic venue construction, planning, and urban development? Duke’s a good school but it doesn’t give you a degree in I know everyting! Yes, a 47 member task force is not the way to go. Too unwieldy and too many egos. But, don’t arbritarily make a statement that a new arena is the way to go.

  21. wow!
    9:54 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Matt, i agree with the “need” for a new arena but ultimatlely how is gonna look on the people deciding to spend that kind of money with the economy the way it is and the countless othe problems we have as a stae/country………….it’s kinda like the football team great offense no D ….. great basketball money generator in coach Cal but the economy is terrible…..think about the commonwealth before we ask for new facilites, some people are worried about breakfast for tomorrow morning

  22. OneAndDone
    9:57 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Oh, and I am totally in agreeance with the need for a new facility.

  23. BigBlueSkyDog
    9:59 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    The politicians have to do their dog and pony show in order to say “We’ve exhausted all options.” then they’ll recommend a new arena. As for Rupp, I feel no special connection to the place. I’ve seen close to fifteen UK games there and the facilities are below par, to put it kindly. The UK basketball team is what makes a place special, not the building. I’d much rather watch UK in Freedom Hall than Rupp.

  24. Stray Cat
    10:00 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    #20 – Mike – Matt’s giving a birds eye perspective + the popular opinion. It’s called feeding your herd.

    A new arena will need to be built at some point in the future. Whether that’s in 2 years or 20, it will be done. So to establish a 47 member task force of cheese sticks and starbucks writeoffs to decide on that decision seems silly. Yet, the reason it was done is to delegate responsibility (under the guise of delegation to experts).

    So we know a new one will be built. The question is when, arbitrarily concluded or not.

  25. NashvilleCat
    10:04 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Is Rupp Arena really that bad?

  26. mores
    10:07 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    I’m glad politicians actually take the time to seriously study all options before undertaking major financial projects, rather than just blindly assuming they know what must be done because they run a hypersuccessful blog. Matt, unless I’m mistaken, you’re not privy to to most of the financial and other “insider” information necessary to intelligently make such a decision (if I’m wrong, I apologize, but you’ve never disclosed an awareness of such information). Don’t let your frustration with the slow pace of this cloud your judgment.

  27. Greg Fisher
    10:08 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    When Lexington is ready to build the new arena, I’ll gladly lend some of our Mexicans and Chinese to help with the construction.

  28. BeSerious
    10:15 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Best idea ever……put a dome over commonwealth stadium…. solves all problems

  29. Matt Jones
    10:15 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    #26 again if what you believe is that this 47 member board is “seriously studying the options”, then so be it. I do not. As for whether I have the “insider” information, I will say this. There is a lot we all know that at times we can’t say. On this or any other issue, I think it would be faulty to assume that if I, or anyone else, haven’t said it publicly, it means we have no clue what we are talking about.

    There are however other legitimate reasons to always assume I have no idea what I am talking about

  30. CatfanNLville
    10:15 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    As a fellow cat fan in the city of dirty birds I have to agree with you Matt. It hurts to hear all the birds chirping about their big brand new arena mostly because what they say is true. We will always be big brother but when it comes to arenas right now we are definitely envious of little brothers shack. I HATE IT! They are bringing in so much $$ from the new arena and it is definitely NBA ready. I take NBA talent over NBA facility any day but you can’t tell me a fancy shmancy arena wouldn’t make the next John Walls out there drool to play at UK (not that they aren’t already) It only makes sense to start from scratch and build an all new arena, as much as it hurt for Cat fans to hear its the truth RUPP is only sacred because of its memories not the building itself. Make new memories, hang more banners but in a kick ass arena that will bring in tons of $$ and tons of talent.

  31. WoogedyBoogie
    10:23 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Matt, to your response in #10: You make perfect sense in saying that the experts should be the ones performing the study, but your post does not argue that point…. You want (daresay long for) a new arena more than having certified planners giving us the results, when that should be the complaint here. I think you meant to present that with your multiple “47-member” mention, but your infatuation for a new arena shines brighter and makes you seem more short sighted than you mean to be.

    Affordability and logistics is paramount, not keeping up the Jones’ when we dont really HAVE to — been selling out year after year after year.

  32. Mores is right
    10:23 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    26 is right, look i agree we should do the new arena as a fan, and the bureaucracy of todays world is nauseating, but mixing that complaint with approaching this with sound business and financial planning is a bit off. One is a complaint, that i agree with, but if i was an investor or part of the staff making the decisions, i would want all the studies and meetings needed, wouldnt you? You cant just say, “build the arena better than U of L’s and i bet works!” Probably will, but, as Matt would attest to, that wont save you in court if it fails miserably and people start suing. Anyway, hope the arena gets built and i hope the plan is well thought out. Go Cats.

  33. BigBlueBrock
    10:26 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Well said Mr. Jones. This real force its purely political, not only as a scapegoat for when they “make a decision,” but to keep arena talk off the gubernatorial campaign trail. Eventually, they will decide to build a new arena, and no one with functional synapses will be surprised.

  34. Hicks Pick Six
    10:27 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    At this point, I’d settle for $1,000 for upgrades of the pathetic, 15-inch analog TVs those of us unfortunate enough to sit in the upper levels have to squint to see replays on. I’m surprised those things are actually in color. With the price of a decent flatscreen today running about half as much as Billy G’s tabs used to go at The Penguin, why the hell can’t they throw a few of those suckers up top? Oh well, I guess I’ll rely on trying to get my shadow seen in the spotlight during introductions…

  35. Chris
    10:28 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Matt, I’m sure you are very well informed on the ADs position, but I’m not as sure you are all that clued in on what the City is trying to accomplish.

    1) Gray hammered Newberry on not being an advocate for good development.
    2) Gray wants to make sure that what gets built does NOT have the same impact that building Rupp had. i.e. tearing down half a historic subdivision for a parking lot.
    3) Gray wants to use this rare opportunity for an infusion of UK money to get something MORE for Lexington than just an arena (see #1)
    4) No matter what the report says about build or renovate, the city wants to make sure there is something more comprehensive for a ‘arena district’.

    The building of Rupp Arena resulted in Lexington establishing historic preservation and H-1 zoning, all to prevent that from happening again. Matt, you have no flesh in this game, so barking about UK getting what they ultimately wants ignores the fact that the City deserves to not get railroaded by UK for the second time in 35 years. Just because every Joe Bob from Pikeville to Paducah wants a pretty new building doesn’t mean they are shouldering the financial burden. You forget or don’t know that Lexington residents are facing HUGE increases over the next few years in our taxes by the EPA for things Lexington should have done 50 years ago. A screw job to Lexington citizens by UK is not something we should have to bear either.

  36. WoogedyBoogie
    10:31 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    #35: Very well said Chris… must be an engineer?

  37. Matt Jones
    10:33 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    #35 and not one of those things you suggested will be affected by this Task force.

  38. Chris
    10:35 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    On the other hand, I fully support Joe Craft removing the top of the nearest mountain and building a new arena in the shape of a lump of coal, all on his dime. He can name it whatever the hell he wants. Problem solved, taxpayers win.

  39. cathat
    10:35 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Matt, Are you moving to a “right” mindset regarding your views of government? 🙂 By the way, it was nice to meet you at my restaurant the other night. I hope we took good care of you.

  40. tyson
    10:36 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    matt for once you and i totally agree. actually twice, because i also agree with the last sentence in #29

  41. Matt Jones
    10:37 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    To take my point a bit further, I am not advocating that anyone not study how best to build the arena, create an Entertainment district or get the best deal possible for the city. But NONE of that is what is being done by this Task Force. Those issues are issues for city planners, economists or the decision makers themselves. Not glorified Task Forces that do nothing except provide cover for the final decisions.

    I of course want the process to be done as intelligently as possible and to be the best for the city’s residents. But that has nothing to do with what I am complaining about at this time, which is this needless waste of time for 47 people to get together and accomplish little.

  42. Keep RUPP
    10:37 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Welcome to Coal Arena

  43. STEVE!
    10:38 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    12 – I’m afraid I agree with you; however, it appears Mitch won’t have anything to do with it, and that it will be strictly funded by the taxpayers. Remember the IMG deal he was working on – new basketball, football facilities, etc? That died a quiet death. You’re right about Jurich. He’s a great fundraiser and facilities builder. Mitch doesn’t seem to be able to line up big donors. UL has spent $100’s miilions on new and upgraded facilities over the past few years, and we make a huge deal about new scoreboards.

  44. mores
    10:39 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    29 Matt I understand your position, but let’s keep in mind 2 things before we rush to judgment: 1) Jim Gray knows as much or more about construction and its tangents than anyone in this state, and 2) Lexington’s hesitancy, if it is indeed that, may not be so unreasonable. We all agree Rupp will need to go at some point, but now may just not be the time for Lexington financially, particularly in the wake of the Centrepoint disaster. I’m not saying you’re wrong–you may be hitting a nail on a head with regard to “cover your ass” immunity–but I think we ought to give our community leaders the benefit of the doubt absent significant evidence to the contrary.

  45. Matt Jones
    10:40 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    #39 not in the least. My liberal views on issues have little to nothing to do with what so-called “liberal” politicians do or what caricatures are of what liberals believe. I believe in a variety of things, most of which are on the liberal side, but simply characterizing any person’s view as “they like government/they hate government” is way too simplistic.

    And yes, I loved the restaurant and you were unbelievably kind to treat us that well.

  46. Chris
    10:41 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Matt, I didn’t suggest anything. I’m telling you that the task force is all part of the game being played to make sure Lexington gets more than an arena. Your whole post complains about the task force, but doesn’t seem to offer any insight into why it exists, and THAT is what I’m trying to tell you. You don’t know why because you are plugged into UK’s side of this, and frankly UK doesn’t give a damn what the report says. They are just waiting for the city to name their terms, and that isn’t happening until there is a master plan for the Arena Disctrict.

  47. Matt Jones
    10:45 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    #44 I am not anti-Gray at all. I dont know enough about him to make a judgment. And I certainly dont believe that Lexington shouldn’t be hesitant and that there are not serious questions that need to be raised. BUT I do firmly believe that the decision has already been made to build…and that decision is not being attempted to be justified by this complete waste of time. My guess is that all the things we are talking about, the specifics of the deal, public financing amounts, historic districts, etc, have all been discussed many times and generally decided by all involved.

    A 47 person Task Force adds little to the process but unneeded bureaucracy and responsibility shift.

  48. Charlie
    10:45 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    What would Ty Pennington do? We have two great options…option one charge all expenses with sears on the Extreme Home Makeover account…option two send in a awesome video showing how our home (rupp)is old and then Ty Pennington will build us another home.

  49. Matt Jones
    10:51 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    #47 well if both the University and the City dont care about what the Task Force says and it is part of a “game” between the two parties, then it is even more useless than I originally thought.

    Leaders take positions and stick with them…if the Lexington mayor’s position is strong enough, then he doesn’t need to hide behind a 47 member task force for his position. Advocate it and get the best deal possible…but this sideshow (or “game” as you put it), is exactly what I suggested in the post…leaders passing the buck

  50. Matt Jones
    10:55 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    In other news, Mark Henry is somehow still in the WWE

  51. Hands On Originals Sales Rep
    10:57 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Make sure to tell the 47 member task force that I can make some t-shirts for them, and I’ll even give them the 48 shirt price break for free!

  52. Hells yeah
    10:58 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Alex Poythress said on Twitter that he thinks that he will also visit UK for big blue madness! Come on Cal close the deal. #ABC #coffeeisforclosers

  53. cathat
    10:58 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Matt, All politicians look to cover their ass. They also look to grease their doners financialy. Of course I have no proof of that, but it would not suprise me if that was a silent part of this Task Force of prominent citizens. Thats a huge pie that needs to be spread around.

  54. tdogg4033011
    10:58 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Matt, you sure are blowing up the comment section tonight ….. now ya know what my life is like … lol

  55. Charlie
    11:01 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    49-54 what does any of that have to do with Extreme Home Makeover

  56. Chris
    11:10 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Matt, I appreciate that you are commenting on your post but it would help to read my comment fully. I said that UK doesn’t care, not the city. Barnhart sits with a blank stare on his face at all these joint press conferences while Gray talks Task Forces and Master Plans. Barhart and UK don’t give a shit. The administration very much does.

    I feel like I’m arguing against you when I really agree with you. It’s a game, it’s a show, and to a large degree it is useless in the final determination of whether a new arena is built (It will be).

    I’ve only been trying to point out that this is not JUST a method of CYA, but an attempt to get more than an arena. That’s all.

  57. MD
    11:12 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    outstanding post Matt–who can we email or call to help move this forward?

  58. MD
    11:13 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Outstanding post Matt–who can we call, email, kick in the ass to move this forward?

  59. bluetexan
    11:22 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    AND…..thus endeth the reading. Say Amen! Gray’s CYA is nothing but ‘not losing’ the next election. Barnfart is ‘set’ for his career, looks like a ‘deer-in-the-headlights..and, will not make any waves (THIS discussion is WAY OVER his pay-grade). The new president of the Big Blue is clueless. Let’s just take over this decision and cause such a ruckus that they’ll have to decide in our favor…

  60. expatkyfan
    11:23 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Yes, let’s get this party started. New first class arena. Same or greater number of seats as Rupp, Name it Rupp Arena. I won’t be satisfied with anything else, and neither should the rest of BBN.

  61. Buddy Smith
    11:24 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    “My guess is that all the things we are talking about, the specifics of the deal, public financing amounts, historic districts, etc, have all been discussed many times and generally decided by all involved.

    A 47 person Task Force adds little to the process but unneeded bureaucracy and responsibility shift.”

    Matt, the 47 member task force is divided into several sub-groups and each group has a unique area of the study to consider. Each sub-group has money to hire consultants for their area of the study. I’m pretty sure I’ve read that in the Herald-Leader a few times and maybe on KSR before as well.

  62. Brandon
    11:26 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    How funny are all the tea baggers who now have a woody because they think Matt has joined the dark side and now hates gov’t?

  63. RTR
    11:28 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    What? Oh my God then the city wouldn’t be able to gouge the university for rent, parking, concessions, and everything else. Build your own arena and reap all the benefits. Build an on campus arena already and they might have to attract some more concerts and events to the metropolis of Lexington instead of putting all of their eggs in the U.K. “basket.” Although it might create more excitement than the town can handle.

  64. tyrus
    12:17 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    In Gray we shall trust. He’s smarter at this than you and I by a long shot. And remember this will be a multi-purpose facility…helps with the funding.

  65. UKGoBigBlue
    12:31 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    This is nothing more than the politics of politics !! This is the exact same thing that happened when the Yum Center was built. There is a whole lot of money to be made off studying the project & then actually building the arena. This isn’t so much about the corporations/government; it’s about the individuals involved, their ego’s, their need for the appearance of having power, and their ability to make a bunch of money. These task forces make a bunch of money for the select group of individuals sitting on them, usually political paybacks. 47 people right now are getting paid to waste time ! Some of the same individuals on this task force will also be some of the same individuals that will make a bunch of money when the new arena gets built, making money every step of the way. Jim Host, Larry Bisig, Todd Blue, and others aren’t sitting on the Louisville Arena Authority out of the kindness of their hearts, they’re getting paid.

    UK could go out and do this on their own, but the City of Lexington & State of KY all want to be able to make money off this new arena once the bonds get issued.

    If they really wanted to pass the pork barrel buffet; they would hire someone like Goldman Sachs to run the feasibility numbers & put together the bond issuance, but that would be too easy & a bunch of people couldn’t make a ton of money off studying & building this new arena.

    The bearded hippies in Birkenstocks protesting with poorly made signs are the Democrats that Matt loves & hates.

  66. Charlie
    12:54 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    You have to be a low life piece of crap to get involved in politics. It’s just one guy running for office and then dropping out of the race for the bribe.

  67. UK Rifle >> WVU Rifle
    3:49 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    Building a new arena without a major net increase in seating and growth in population in folly at best. Spend the money getting corporate headquarters and better jobs before taking on needless debt for some corporate suites. If we have YUM envy, get over it until the serious questions are answered first. I am not opposed to a new arena if we take care of the more pressing matters at hand first.

  68. john
    4:34 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    How do you pay for it? YUM was paid for largely by TIF’s which works because of the (relatively) large corporate and general population base in Louisville. Unlike Lexington, Louisville also is able to bring in (relatively) large number of conventions which also helps the TIF financing.

    Furthermore, corporate suites requires large corporations to pay for them. Lexington doesn’t have many large corporations like Louisville who are willing to spend money on corporate suites. Sure, there are some, but enough to make it financially worthwhile to build the number of corporate suites YUM has today? Take a look at the corporate suites at Commonwealth. There really hasn’t been a HUGE clamoring for more suites have there?

    Without those advantages, how does Lexington pay for a new arena? Sure, they can build a new arena without the advantage of the TIF financing, and large number of corporate boxes, but at what cost? A smaller or not nearly as nice arena as YUM?

    How do you pay for it?

  69. WKUGrad
    6:13 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    It’s funny how Matt goes on a deleting comments rampage because his butt gets hurt over politics.

  70. Mr. Gray
    6:37 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    maybe Mr. Jones would be singing a different tune if we had invited him to be member #48.

  71. Newtintheville
    7:55 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    Amen Matt. Little gets me so fired up as the grinding, maddening wheels of government. I’m almost of the notion now that we should just say to hell with the Lexington bureaucrats and just do the whole thing with private money and private interests.

    We played in Alumni Gymnasium for 26 years. We played in Memorial for 25 years. We’ve now been in Rupp for 35. The time has come to move forward yet again.

  72. Keeneland
    8:20 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    Have the new arena fashioned after the stone buildings of Keeneland.

  73. John Clay
    8:21 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    I no like dis!!! Stop being irresponsible!! You only want this because UK wants it!!

  74. devok
    8:41 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    I’m telling you… We need a dome, not an arena. (i.e. a bigger and better Carrier Dome). Go big or go home!

  75. SoccerCat
    8:55 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    I agree with building a new arena, but am not sure where the money will come from. Lexitonians will not stand for tax increases. If the arena can be built from private funds, then have at it.

    Another point is the city of Louisville has multiple large, multi-national companies headquartered in their city to help with donations. We have maybe three prominant companies, 2 of which are not doing so hot. But again I am all for a state of the art new arena.

  76. bluesince66
    9:10 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    I’m all for the on campus arena. The land and parking are already there, across the street from Commonwealth Stadium. UK makes all the money that way. It would still be within a couple of miles of downtown, so people could still do pregame meals and such, and then come to the game.

  77. stevem
    9:17 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    Rupp Arena is “second rate?” “The only thing that makes economic sense?” Sorry Matt, but you conveniently left out any economic analysis in your woefully inadequate articel. Until a viable financing plan is offered that lays out with specificity how this new “crown jewel” is going to be paid for, you haven’t done any more than offer a Christmas list of wants. That, in your words would certainly not “make any economic sense.” It is easy to yearn for such a new structure but looking at the state of today’s (and likely tomorrow’s economy), there doesn’t seem to be a lot of room to finance such a project. Let’s get some adults on this board who can speak from experience about the economics of buidling such a palace, then maybe we can have a serious conversation.

  78. dcat fan
    9:39 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    Why is everyone so down on Rupp Arena. I love it. Is it all just because of Louisville’s new arena. Maybe because I haven’t been lucky enough to go to any other arenas besides US Bank in Cincy I think Rupp is awesome. I don’t know about you all but I would go to every game at Rupp if I could and would never pay attention to anything about the arena besides the banners and the ballgame.

  79. Greg Alan Edwards
    10:02 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    Matt, sometimes I think your youthful exuberance prevents your mind from wrapping around what you already know to be true. You don’t make changes to the most significant College Basketball program in the country without checking the temperature of the water first. Will this committee spend money and waste time unnecessarily? Maybe, but that is not what it is about. Enough “Big Money” is going to be spent on this issue to warrant being careful how it is done. The option of saving Rupp has to remain on the table, simply because it is Rupp, and this is Kentucky. Not to mention your way of doing things could result in a lot more money being wasted if things are done wrong.

    Also, what about the damage left standing in the wake of simply “building a new one” and forgetting Rupp? There are major downtown businesses with serious ties to Rupp that would be affected, that means jobs, which in this day and time are hard to come by. And what do you do with Rupp once a new arena is built? A new arena is going to want the events that Rupp now sees, which means that in time, Rupp either becomes a casualty of the marketplace, or a rundown shell of what it once was, simply because there is a “new” one down the street. Trying to find a way to “revitalize” Rupp is not only prudent, it is a worthy cause. In the end, if it cannot be done to everyone’s satisfaction, then so be it. But if someone doesn’t at least try, then an even greater disservice has been done to the fans, the program, and even to Rupp Arena itself. Leaving Memorial was a logistical matter when it occurred. There was no way to make it what it needed to be where it sat, because even if you could have made it better, you couldnt get everyone to it to enjoy it. Rupp does not have that problem. It is in a good location, has support from the business community around it, and the infrastructure is sound.

    I like shiny new toys too, but I watched a TV show the other day where a 1970 Chevelle got a brand new paint job, new chassis, power steering, a/c, racing handling and brakes and even a “green” high-performance motor. It is a Lexus? No. But it is one mean vehicle with style and great looks, and gets better mileage than the Lexus does with better performance. I’ll take a combination of style and performance any day over the model year.

  80. catfan24
    10:17 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    I Like Rupp Arena

  81. KellyB
    11:50 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    Well said #79!

  82. KellyB
    11:51 am August 30, 2011 Permalink

    Well put 79

  83. Rest in peace Mel Turpin
    12:11 pm August 30, 2011 Permalink

    It’s the nature of government to serve the best interests of the people running the government. It’s the Birkenstock crowd that hangs on to ideology espoused by naive liberal activists that are scared to call themselves socialists. Yes, Matt we love your enthusiasm for the Kentucky Wildcats! And we recognize that you are growing up in your understanding of the waste inherent in government (even municipalities). Please just admit it – you are starting to see the light when it comes to the flaws of government being the answer to problems in society. Your socialist hate for Libertarians is eroding a bit, don’t you think? Or perhaps you would prefer that Obama print a few more trillion dollars and hand out the “free” money to shovel-ready projects like a new 50,000 seat Rupp Dome? After all, the government can fix everything. We just need to raise taxes and hire more government employees so they can fix all the trouble caused by capitalism and greedy entrepreneurs and rich people. Wouldn’t it actually be better if the Kentucky State Government formed a new agency dedicated to oversee the wasted time by Lexington’s Task Force? Indeed, there should be federal legislation to abolish the city’s right to send a mere 47 members on boondoggles! Why not hire 200 expert bureaucrats in the Obama administration that are community organizers to come and show those 47 hillbillies how to REALLY waste time and money?! Now THAT would stimulate the economy.

    No? You think I’m an idiot? Ahhhhh yes…you are growing wiser young man. Just admit it – socialism doesn’t work. Not in Lexington and not in America and not in Europe and not in USSR. Government is self-serving. See my original sentence.

  84. Will W
    12:37 pm August 30, 2011 Permalink

    The city of Lexington has Applebee’s stadium by the Northland shopping center just down the road from Transy. Why not build the new arena in that area , you already have a baseball stadium there or why not build a campus complex? I am sure the 47 memebers are looking at all aveneus. I understand the need for a new arena, but can we have something that is a bit of a throwback arena that pays homage to Memorial, and Rupp, and well as something that besides the banners hanging like a hall of champions or something like that. I know its a baseball park but Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati does a great job of blending the old with the new.

  85. ZZbottom
    12:52 pm August 30, 2011 Permalink

    uhm.. Why don’t we just tear out the arbritum or something and just build the darn thing on Campus. That’s state property not city.

  86. UK Rifle >> WVU Rifle
    1:03 pm August 30, 2011 Permalink

    Rest in peace Mel Turpin : I hope your handle is sincere, as Melvin was a long time friend, and not a morbid attempt at humor.

    Matt Jones : The problem with the 47 members is they all have a vested interest in the value such a construction project would bring to the pockets of a few folks. The TIF funding was intended for folks who were putting a sizable chunk of their own money at risk while enriching the local community. The Brown family got the TIF bill through the KY legislature due to how much they were personally putting up. In addition UL was going to get 4 floors for their ART school, and the city was going to get 4 floors for a world class art museum. The problem is Lexington has not followed through and Mr Young and Mr Gaines have passed on without such a person to stand in their place. If the current leadership just wants housing for rich college parents and the wealthy folks of Lexington, we are already doomed. For a vibrant downtown you need housing for the middle class and worker bees as well.

  87. Bob
    1:53 pm August 30, 2011 Permalink

    Got to at least be 30,000 capacity. We’d fill that for BBM. Heck, we’d fill that for an exhibition game.

  88. Tokyo now Tampa Satchel
    10:18 pm August 30, 2011 Permalink

    I’m not sure why everyone is in such a hurry to build a new arena. Wouldn’t it make better sense to wait a year or two for the economy to rebound, so this project could be well-funded?