Public Weighs In On Early Vision For Arts & Entertainment District

Sep 18, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. -  Architects and designers shared their early visions for the Rupp Arena Arts & Entertainment District at a public meeting Wednesday night. Though no new major designs were unveiled, more than a hundred Lexingtonians showed up to hear and comment on the plans.

"I think it's great that they want to keep the bones, they want to keep the history, but they want to make it better. So it's like a facelift, it's like invigorating the downtown, and I think they're on the right path," Lexington resident Eric Elliott said, peering over a 3-D model of an expanded Rupp Arena at the Kentucky Theatre Wednesday.

As a downtown resident and sports fan, Elliott says he’s happy to see a number of features being discussed, including the removal of part of the Convention Center in order to create a catwalk from Main to High Street and an emphasis on windows and transparency in and around the arena.

NBBJ architect Jonathan Ward said the idea is to strengthen the connection Rupp and the surrounding area.

"So you can see the bowl [and] you know what's going on. In the city you feel like you're part of that experience, whether you're on the street corner, whether you're on the main concourse, or whether you're walking around the building," Ward told the audience.

While the focus has been on the visuals and the feel, one resident wondered aloud about the noise. Helene Steene said sound travels easily into her neighborhood from downtown and she wanted to make sure concerts that might be held in the park wouldn’t be too loud.

As for those who weren't able to attend Wednesday night's meeting, a new website has been created to take public comment,