University of Louisville fans can exhale now. The downtown arena for the U of L basketball teams is a go. This time for sure.03-10_jim_host

Assured Guaranty, a Bermuda-based company has agreed to insure the bonds for the facility to the tune of $280 million in a variable-rate bonds and the remaining $80 million in fixed interest bonds. If the economy continues along its bumpy road, those variable-rate bonds could turn out to be quite a bargain. For every negative, there’s a positive … or is it the other way around?

Rick Pitino expressed serious doubt that Governor Ernie Fletcher’s $75 million grant would ever get through the Kentucky Legislature. Jim Host got it done.

Skeptical U of L fans wondered whether someone so closely tied to the University of Kentucky, a person who used those same ties to build his publishing, construction, real estate and financial empire could be trusted. Jim Host proved otherwise.

David Jones and John Schnatter, two local power brokers and U of L supporters, opposed the effort to get the proposed arena site moved from the Louisville Water Company site to the riverfront site, drawing upon their considerable clout to block it. Jim Host got it done.

Some of the Nervous Nellies on the Louisville Metro Council, namely Jim King and Tina Ward-Pugh, were having a tough time “getting their arms around the project” at first, forcing unnecessary delays in the debate, jeopardizing critical deadlines. Jim Host got it done, got their arms around it, their heads where they belonged.

Some pessimists were doubting that bond insurance was even possible in the current economic climate, the economy going to hell in a hand basket. Jim Host got it done.

There will be other major challenges in a project of this magnitude. It is inevitable.Too many things can go haywire in an unpredictable economy. Mother Nature is creating chaos around the world. PETA may get concerned about the proximity of the arena to the carp and catfish in the Ohio River. The crazies in the Middle East are still breathing and breeding hate.

The best thing the arena has going for it is Jim Host. He has made this personal. He will get it done.

It bears repeating: Take good care of yourself, Big Jim.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

One thought on “Jim Host Arena Keeps Moving”
  1. Jim Host may be a pompous ass but the guy is color blind when it comes to doing things for his state. I take it from the silence of many fellow U of L fans that many still don’t trust him. That’s what makes his work even more impressive.

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