Opposition to using public funds for Lexington’s Rupp Arena redesign is uniting Mayor Jim Gray’s two mayoral opponents.
During the debate on WKYT-TV Monday, candidates Anthany Beatty and Danny Mayer worried aloud that the $350 million dollar project could siphon dollars from other areas of government also in need of funds.
"Certainly we support UK basketball and all the other things that go on there, but again, the funding mechanisms must be the appropriate mechanisms that will not have a detrimental effect on our local economy," Beatty said.
Mayer offered a more blunt assessment, saying he views the Rupp Arena redesign as "an outdate economic development project from the 1990s."
But Mayor Gray drew upon his background in construction to defend the effort, which he argued gives Lexington a unique chance to become more competitive and create jobs.
"I've been involved in more than 850 jobs - construction projects - in my business career and in that time I examined a lot of business plans and what I know from this one is that it is as good as any and better than most," the mayor said.
Monday night’s program was the only televised debate scheduled before the May 20th primary.