The expansion of the South Wing of Louisville’s Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center (KFEC) has been delayed because a state budget impasse is dragging on, leading to the possibility that the RV industry’s National Trade Show will be moved from Louisville.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), sponsors of the national trade show, could take steps as soon as Sept. 14 to move the show from Louisville, when it reviews proposals from other cities.
When it met during June, the RVIA Show Committee instructed Mary “Mike” Hutya, the association’s vice president of meetings and shows, to gather information from cities with suitable convention facilities and report to the RVIA Board during its meeting Sept. 14 in Williamsburg, Va.
Earlier, Hutya said Orlando and Atlanta were the two leading alternative sites for the show. However, as of Thursday (Aug. 29), she said she did not know which cities will be able to provide enough information for review by the RVIA board on Sept. 14.
This year’s “Louisville Show” will take place Dec. 3-5 and Hutya said scheduling conflicts and other logistical problems would prevent moving the show for a few more years.
Currently, the RVIA has a year-to-year contract with the KFEC, Hutya added.
Originally, funds for expanding the KFEC’s South Wing were to be included in the Kentucky state budget for the two-year period ending June 30, 2004. However, the Kentucky Legislature was unable to agree on a new budget earlier this year, so the governor is operating the state under an emergency spending plan, which does not include any money for capital improvements such as the KFEC expansion.
The legislature will convene in regular session in January, so it could pass a budget early next year, covering until the middle of 2004.
Originally, KFEC officials planned to solicit construction contractors’ bids in July so the work on expanding the South Wing could begin next month. But that has been delayed because there is no funding.
The original plan called for a 165,000-square-foot expansion of the South Wing, and the construction of a 57,000-square-feet South Wing conference center, to be completed during the spring of 2004.