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Budget, Civic Center, and CentrePointe Focus of Mayor's Speech

By Brenna Angel


LEXINGTON, Ky. – "Great American City" was the theme of Lexington Mayor Jim Gray's State of the Merged Government speech Tuesday.

Gray says building a great city starts with the urban core, including the stalled CentrePointe project. Leaders of the mayor's administration recently met with leaders from The Webb Companies.

"What they've said is that they're willing to engage that I and others have about the development of the project."

Mayor Gray hasn't always been on board with CentrePointe. But he says developer Dudley Webb has expressed a willingness to take several factors into consideration.

"The history that the city represents that our downtown represents, and how a project like this will integrate comfortably and responsibly in our downtown. And also a project that represents the imagination and the creativity that our city aspires."

The Lexington Civic Center also has the mayor's attention. Gray says a citizens committee will soon be formed to look into making improvements to the convention complex and Rupp Arena.

He told reporters the changes don't necessarily mean that the current home of UK basketball will be demolished.

"I've been in the building business all my life and I know that really remarkable projects can come through renovations of existing facilities. So my view is we should examine that first, then consider a new building."

Gray says the committee could be in place within two week. The mayor wants a private business to conduct an assessment and feasibility study that would be funded by private donations.