Arena officials not worried about finance trouble - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Arena officials not worried about finance trouble

A week after it's financing plan fell through, Arena Authority leaders insist they will find a way to raise construction money.

Last week, investors were lined up to buy construction bonds and the company selling them was just a day away from sending the Arena Authority a check for $358-million.  But, at the very last minute, the deal fell through when questions were raised about the financial health of the company insuring the bonds.

"I'm cautiously optimistic that we're going to find a solution. There is not an alternative. We have to find a solution and we will," said Arena Authority Chairman, Jim Host.

This morning, Host rallied the troops.  He told his board members work began immediately after the setback to find a new way to raise construction money.

One alternative is for a group of local banks to issue a letter of credit, a guarantee to stand behind bonds just as an insurer would.

Host told Arena Authority members the financial plan remains strong, community support remains high, and there is no question the arena will be built despite growing national economic problems.

"There's been too much work, too much time, too much effort. Too much at stake for this community and for the state for us to walk away from it, at this point. So, that's not an alternative," said Host.

Host continues to insist if financing is secured by late September, construction can be completed in time for the fall 2010 start of U of L's basketball season.  But, Host says U of L's agreement with the Arena Authority includes playing in Freedom Hall in 2010 if it turns out the construction deadline cannot be met.

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