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Minority Caucus Members Announce their Opposition to Center City Giveaway

Thursday October 2, 2008

Louisville Metro Council
Media Advisory
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          
MEDIA CONTACT:  STEPHEN HAAG, JR.
574-1204 / 645-1752

Louisville, KY – Members of the Louisville Metro Council’s Minority Caucus announced their opposition to the Mayor’s plan to give away approximately $30 million dollars in funding to the Baltimore Based Cordish Company. Republican opposition to the Center City Project was solidified after council Democrats forced the ordinance to purchase $12,250,000 in property on a 6 to 4 party line vote during last night’s Budget Committee Meeting.

Council Republicans had previously questioned aspects of the project such as purchase price, level of investment required by the Cordish Group along with terms of a development agreement that reportedly will not be required to have the support of the Metro Council. Over the past few weeks council members have submitted questions and inquiries to the Mayor’s Office as well as his Economic Development Director seeking clarification on issues related to the purchase of properties on the Water Company Block and questions regarding a development agreement between the Mayor and the Baltimore-based Cordish Company. Some of the questions have been answered, others have not and in reviewing the project more questions have arisen causing greater concerns.

“The Center City Project was first presented through a slideshow with renderings of the buildings and promises of up to $400 million dollars in economic investment for the downtown area. After many questions, and further investigation the project’s minimal investment requirements are closer to $12 million with few protections for the citizens of this community. The failure of this administration to protect taxpayers and the Mayor’s unwillingness to fix vital aspects of the development agreement leave me with no other option but to vote against this give-away” – Councilman Hal Heiner (District 19)

“During tough financial times, our city is opting to do what it always does – give away assets and tax dollars to bring development downtown. During tight times, when the Mayor says he is forced to work with a meat and potatoes budget, he is out giving away acres of prime real estate, promising to fund architectural drawings or renovating privately owned buildings. This is the time to let the millions of dollars invested in our downtown over the past decade stand up and bring in the results we were all promised.” – Councilman Ken Fleming (District 7)

“The current proposal represents one of this government’s biggest giveaways of land and assets. Instead of letting the synergies of our current investments in Museum Plaza, 4th Street Live and other new developments – we continue to subsidize downtown projects. Instead of focusing on fixing closed pools, turning the lights back on at ballparks and improving closed retail centers throughout the county – this administration pushes for even more money for downtown. It is time for other areas of this community to get the kind of attention from this Mayor that the downtown has received.” – Councilman Doug Hawkins (District 25)

The ordinance to purchase property for the Center City Project will be voted on by the entire Metro Council at their next meeting, October 9, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. Over the next week, the eleven members of the Metro Council’s Republican Caucus will work to convince Democratic members of the council to join them and require that Metro Government put an end to the giveaways and focus instead on fixing our entire community.

Sponsor(s):
Ken Fleming (R) 7
Kevin Kramer (R) 11
Kelly Downard (R) 16
Glen Stuckel (R) 17
Julie Adams (R) 18
Hal Heiner (R) 19
Stuart Benson (R) 20
Robin Engel (R) 22
James Peden (R) 23
Doug Hawkins (R) 25
Ellen Call (R) 26