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Kentucky to pony up $28m for equestrian games

February 4, 2008

The state of Kentucky has earmarked $28.6 million to ready the Kentucky Horse Park for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010.

The money is unused funds from a bond pool for state park projects.

Construction of the new indoor arena is under way.
"We must maintain Kentucky's promise to the World Equestrian Games," Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said. "And in light of our state budget situation, I believe this is the best way to make sure the 2010 World Equestrian Games are a great success."

The funding will help pay for the new indoor arena with exhibit space and an outdoor stadium at the Horse Park. The exhibit space will serve the facility not only for the World Equestrian Games, but also for future events. Funding will also provide for additional temporary seating at the outdoor arena, lighting and video screens.

"Kentucky must do all it can to ensure we provide an excellent venue for these games," Gov. Beshear said. "It is a commitment we made and a valuable opportunity to show the world that the Bluegrass State is a great place to live and visit."

The economic impact of the games is estimated to be worth at least $150 million, not including any future activities the Kentucky Horse Park will subsequently attract.

Organizers expect more than 600,000 visitors representing 60 countries, more than 2,000 journalists and television viewership of at least 500 million during the 16-day event.

Architectural rendering of the new outdoor stadium.

Last week the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) crossed another hurdle toward the construction of a privately-funded 267-room resort hotel and conference center to be constructed at the park. This is the first hurdle in the two-step conduit bond approval process.

If final approval is granted on this schedule, construction of the hotel and conference center will be completed in time for the 2010 Games. New indoor arena construction is under way delays in the project's progress were due to the limited availability of financing as a result of the fallout from the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

A recent economic impact study conducted by Economics Research Associates on behalf of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet found that a resort hotel at the Kentucky Horse Park would:



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