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A delay of the expansion of the South Wing of the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center (KFEC) in Louisville appears more likely because Kentucky politicians still have not reached an agreement on a budget for the two-year period beginning Monday (July 1).
The KFEC is the site of the RV industry’s National Trade Show and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Board voted earlier this month to begin checking into the feasibility to moving the show to another city.
The RVIA’s members generally believe that the show has outgrown the KFEC and KFEC officials were hoping to begin soliciting construction contractors’ bids beginning in July, so work on the South Wing expansion could begin in September. Their goal was to have the project completed by the spring of 2004.
However, it may not be possible to meet that timetable because the Kentucky General Assembly has been unable to agree on a budget.
Consequently, the governor plans to keep Kentucky government operating under a one-year emergency spending plan, but Gov. Paul Patton’s emergency plan does not include funding for the KFEC South Wing expansion or any other capital improvement projects.
Political observers believe that even if the Kentucky Legislature eventually agrees on a new two-year budget, it will not include funding for the KFEC South Wing expansion because state tax revenue collections remain below expectations and it appears Kentucky will deplete its “Rainy Day Fund”, which was created to cover revenue shortfalls.
However, the KFEC South Wing expansion would be placed at the top of the state’s priority list if the legislature agrees either to raise taxes or legalize slot machine gambling. But both of those moves are considered politically risky.
Meanwhile, Mary “Mike” Hutya, the RVIA’s vice president of meetings and shows, does not believe it would be possible to move the National Trade Show until 2005 at the earliest. If a decision is made to move, she believes Atlanta and Orlando would be the leading contenders.
The RVIA show has taken place in Louisville every year since 1962, except for 1987, when it was in Atlanta.