Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has suspended efforts to renovate the home of the University of Kentucky men's basketball team.
The proposed $351 million project to renovate Rupp Arena and build a new convention center in downtown Lexington has languished for some time.
Gray said Wednesday he suspended work on the project after UK withdrew its support for a proposed annual $10.7 million lease on Rupp, beginning in 2018. Gray said officials had designed the proposed renovation based on what the university said it needed.
Gov. Steve Beshear said he still thinks the original project is what Lexington and the university need. The governor said he hopes UK will eventually be ready to move forward with the project.
UK spokesman Jay Blanton said the university did not have any immediate comment.
The budget Kenutcky lawmakers approved this week will give $1.5 million to a costly renovation of the University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena.
The money would be used to finance architects' and engineering fees and other planning costs for the $310 million project.
Republican lawmakers got few answers from Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who lobbied House and Senate leadership for $65 million for the project during marathon budget talks held in Frankfort over the weekend.
Gray said the project would create thousands of jobs in Lexington, and failing to provide the amount would “drive a stake through the heart of the project.”
Details of the project remain scarce, as Gray and other officials are under a verbal non-disclosure agreement with the university.