Sadiqa Reynolds is thrilled. The Louisville Urban League CEO said she was taking the day to celebrate following a Metro Council vote to authorize previously approved bonds, including a $10 million bond for her planned West End track and field facility.
The Council’s Thursday night vote authorized $83 million in bonds. They range in size and scope, and some projects have not yet commenced.
“That was really, really important for us as it relates to financing and being able to leverage the city dollars,” she said.
With that assurance, Reynolds said she can continue pursuing New Markets Tax Credits, as well as naming sponsors for the indoor-outdoor sports facility. She said a corporation could purchase naming rights for the facility for $2.5 million.
Two weeks ago, Council members had voted to table the bond ordinance as they raised questions about the city’s fiscal future, leading Mayor Greg Fischer to halt work on some projects. Immediately after passing it on Thursday, they voted down a proposal to raise revenue and cut spending to plug a coming budget gap.
Fischer indicated after that decision that his administration may revisit some bond-funded projects, given that Council did not allow the city to raise taxes.
“The Council’s vote tonight to reverse their March 7 vote suspending the bond ordinance that would fund capital projects that they’d twice approved now must be reviewed in light of their subsequent vote to cut $65 million from Metro Government, to determine whether or not those projects can go forward,” Fischer said in a written statement Thursday night.
Louisville Metro CFO Daniel Frockt said that having the bond payments authorized allows the government to decide which items to keep.
“What we might do is take a look at projects that are not started or don’t have a contractual obligation and make a determination of do we want to proceed with them,” he said.
But for projects on which the city has an outside partner or contractual agreement, Louisville has an obligation it would not go back on, he said. The Louisville Urban League’s project is an example.
“Even though they haven’t drawn down $10 million, they have taken that and taken actions based on that,” he said. “They’ve gone and either gotten financing or raised funds or to make the project happen, and they’ve walked around saying, ‘Metro’s good for $10 million.’”
Reynolds said she has raised $17 million of her $35 million goal. That includes the $10 million Louisville promised. She said the time since the bond ordinance was tabled has been an “emotional roller coaster.” But now she can relax a little.
“It’s already hard enough because the idea of raising $35 million … for this development can be overwhelming in and of itself,” Reynolds said. “So when you have these victories, whether they’re small or big, you have to really take some time to enjoy them.”