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Metro mayor reviews 2013; says not to fear KFC Yum! Center

Mayor Greg Fischer Mayor Greg Fischer

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – As 2013 draws to a close Mayor Greg Fischer said he's excited for the year Louisville has had and the momentum the city has going forward.

Louisville's job market is one that Mayor Fischer is proud of and only wants to get better.

"2013 really set the stage with momentum," Mayor Fischer said. "We regained all the jobs that we lost in the recession; we're looking towards jobs of innovation. All of our economic development clusters that we focus on are really firing in all cylinders."

One area that's grown exponentially is Downtown Louisville. With new restaurants, Urban Bourbon trail, and great hotels the area is putting Louisville on the map. Now that we're growing, Fischer said we need to make our jobs even better.

"So now the key is how do we increase wages?" said Fischer. "How do we convert and evolve to a city that's based on innovation? That's what our main focus is now."

While downtown Louisville is growing, the fate of the KFC Yum! Center has some worried after its latest downgrade of bonds.

"There's no question that the financial projections that were in place in the beginning are not being met," said Fischer. "But as long as the city is healthy financially, which we are, then the arena is going to be fine. We need more dates there, more activity there, obviously that's what makes the financial situation better."

Fischer said the burden of the center won't fall in the lap of taxpayers.

"As long as the city can contribute its maximum to the arena it's going to be fine," said Fischer. "So the city has a minimum of $6.5 million a year and [a maximum] $9.8 million a year. So last year we paid the maximum."

Fischer said it's in the financial plan to continue paying that amount every year.

In 2014, as Mayor Fischer runs for re-election, he will continue to urge Frankfort to vote for a constitutional amendment allowing citizens to vote for local option sales tax - a way to pay for special projects in their city.

"54 percent of Kentuckians want the ability to vote on local projects. They're defined projects in their own specific fund, paid for in their own specific way with a local option sales tax," Fischer said. "It's an economic development tool. 37 states already have it so without us having this tool we're at a competitive disadvantage."

If Kentuckians voted to have the Local Options Sales Tax (LOST) they could then vote on which projects to use it for, like, "improved roads, sidewalks and bridges, public transportations. The types of things that you see when you go to all progressive cities around the world right now."

60 percent of the Kentucky House and Senate need to vote for the amendment.

With jobs and progression, first comes education. Mayor Fischer said there have been many new partnerships with JCPS and the 55,000 Degrees program, which aims to increase post secondary degrees, is soaring.

"Our 55k results are at an all time high. 52 percent of Louisville adults have a college degree so we're outpacing the country with that as well."

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