Wildcats Lose Again

The final buzzer rang on a proposal for Frankfort, Ky.’s  to receive state-supported bond funding as part of a financing package to renovate the home court of the University of Kentucky’s basketball team. 

Photo: AP Photo / NBBJ + EOP + SCAPE
Lexington, Ky., city officials revealed the long-awaited redesign of Rupp Arena Feb. 10. The 38-year-old home for University of Kentucky basketball faced a setback in mid April.

State lawmakers ended their 2014 regular session April 15 without voting on whether to authorize the $80 million in state bonding to boost the financing package.

It’s the second recent setback for the Wildcats, which were beaten in the NCAA men’s basketball championship April 7 by the University of Connecticut Huskies.

Rupp Arena has been the team’s home court since the 1970s. While it’s not clear the loss affected anyone’s voting, excitement over a national championship couldn’t have hurt the cause.

Lawmakers previously refused to include $65 million in Rupp Arena-related state bonding in the $20.3 billion, two-year state budget that passed the legislature.

Senate leaders signaled they didn’t want to commit state money unless the city and the university have a long-term agreement for the venue to continue hosting the Kentucky basketball team.

Government officials remain hopeful they can salvage the renovation plans without the bond funding, however.

“Delaying this project needlessly delays positive economic development for the central Kentucky region, but I am confident that we will forge a path forward,” Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said.