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Rupp Project Emerges As Key Issue For At-Large Candidates

More than a dozen candidates for at-large Urban County Council seats in Lexington took part in a forum Saturday.

The contenders were most vocal on the proposed Rupp Arena expansion.

Several candidates at the League of Women Voters forum expressed reservations about the $310 million dollar project – with community activist Don Pratt dubbing the renovation a “complete waste of time and money” and others, such as council members Kevin Stinnett and Steve Kay, saying they’re waiting on Mayor Gray’s financing plan.

Candidates Keener "Pete" Dyer and Jerry Moody waxed skeptical about the city's priorities, which they argued should concentrate more on the poor and homeless.

Gray has been lobbying for $65 million state bond money, along with a hotel tax increase, to help fund the project, but neither has gained traction in the General Assembly. A handful of current council members declined to sign a letter promising support for the Rupp expansion if the hotel tax passed.

Lexington Chief Administrative Officer and candidate Richard Moloney said the financial plan is key, but noted that Louisville and Northern Kentucky have been awarded their share of dollars for convention center upgrades in recent years.

13 candidates in all are vying for at-large spots. The May 20th primary will whittle that number down to six. In November, the top vote-getter will become vice mayor, while the second and third place finishers will win at-large seats.

The candidates:

Shannon Buzard

Bill Cegelka

Ray DeBolt

Kenner "Pete" Dyer

Steve Kay

Connie Kell

Jon Larson

Chris Logan

Richard Moloney

Jerry Moody

Don Pratt

Jacob Slaughter

Kevin Stinnett


Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.