Economic Growth and Innovation Newsroom


Mayor Presents New Arena Financing Plan

Friday July 21, 2006


Abramson Calls Special Council Meeting To Vote on Job-Saving Plan

Mayor Jerry Abramson today presented a new arena financing plan that contains the non-divisive changes that were included in the Metro Council’s resolution and has the backing of the project’s funding partners – the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Arena Authority and the business community represented by Greater Louisville Inc.

Abramson sent the Memorandum of Agreement, which he and Arena Authority Chairman Jim Host signed this morning, to the council along with a resolution sponsored by a diverse group of council members.

Abramson called a special meeting of the Metro Council for Tuesday, July 25, where he will ask members to vote for the agreement to save the arena project and the 3,500 jobs that are at stake.

“This agreement keeps our promises and allows us to move full speed ahead with this important economic investment,” Abramson said.

The agreement does not include the Metro Council’s demands for extensive construction hiring guarantees, known as a project labor agreement, which drew opposition from the project’s funding partners. Those unilateral changes led Abramson to veto the council’s resolution on Tuesday.

It does include the other non-divisive changes the council voted last Thursday to add and provisions recommended in a bipartisan amendment that failed by a single vote to be included.

The revised agreement includes several changes made by the council and supported by the financial partners:

  • Guaranteeing prevailing wage (market-rate pay) for each trade involved in the project;

  • Establishing a goal of at least 20 percent minority participation and 5 percent women participation for employees and contractors;

  • Providing opportunities for both union and non-union employees and contractors;

  • Establishing a goal of 75 percent of arena construction jobs for Kentucky and Indiana residents, and a goal of at least 60 percent reserved for residents of the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area; and

  • Giving unions and minorities a seat at the table by establishing a committee that will include representatives of the Louisville Urban League, the Justice Resource Center and labor unions “to represent minority and union contractors; to assist with recruitment of Project minorities and women; to assist in training those individuals thereby recruited; to provide verification and concurrent monitoring of the level of participation of minorities and women in the Project; and to monitor the payment of prevailing wages.”

The Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Arena Authority and the business community are guaranteeing funding for about 70 percent of the money required to build the arena. Louisville Metro Government is providing 30 percent of the project’s cost, revenue generated from increased economic activity from the arena and downtown parking receipts.