The5th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Economic Development and Tourism was held on Thursday, November 15, 2007, at 1:00 PM, at the Frazier International History Museum in Louisville. Representative Eddie Ballard, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Representative Eddie Ballard, Co-Chair; Senators Julian M. Carroll, Julie Denton, Denise Harper Angel, and Gary Tapp; Representatives Larry Belcher, Kevin D. Bratcher, Mike Denham, Bob M DeWeese, Myron Dossett, Jim Gooch Jr., Mike Harmon, Melvin B. Henley, Joni L. Jenkins, Thomas Kerr, Adam Koenig, Tom McKee, Brad Montell, Tim Moore, Fred Nesler, David Osborne, Don Pasley, Ancel Smith, Brandon Smith, John Will Stacy, Robin L. Webb, Ron Weston, and Addia Wuchner.
Guests: Owsley Brown Frazier, Chairman and Dr. Madeleine Burnside, Executive Director, Frazier International History Museum; Randy Fiveash, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Tourism; Jack Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, World Games 2010 Foundation, Inc.; John Nicholson, Executive Director, Kentucky Horse Park; Debbie King and Gary Steward, Board of Trustees, Louisville Zoo Foundation; Mark Zoeller, Assistant Director and Emily Goldstein, Youth Board, Louisville Zoo; Lynn Witten, President, Kentucky Manufacturing Assistance Center; and Jeff Waldal, Corporate Vice President, Ceradyne and President, Semicon Associates.
LRC Staff: John Buckner, Committee Staff Administrator; Louis Pierce; Karen Armstrong-Cummings; and Dawn Johnson.
Owsley Brown Frazier, Chairman of the Frazier International History Museum welcomed the committee and talked briefly about the museum’s importance to education and to tourism and economic development in the state. After a short DVD presentation about the museum, Dr. Madeleine Burnside, Executive Director was introduced. She said that the museum is currently planning exhibitions on Japan, China, and India, and that the museum would also be heavily involved with exhibitions focusing on the Abraham Lincoln bicentennial. Dr. Burnside said that the museum will be asking for state assistance to help with its educational programming components and interactive distance learning for rural schools.
Next, Randy Fiveash, Commissioner of the Department of Tourism, Jack Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of the World Games 2010 Foundation, and John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park gave an update on preparations for the 2010 World Equestrian Games. The Games will be marketed as a statewide event, and because this will be the first time in history that the event has been held outside of Europe, it is expected that there will be a significant economic impact throughout Kentucky. There will be over 1,000 athletes, 800,000 visitors, and a world-wide television audience of over 500,000,000. A conservative economic impact of $150-200 million is anticipated.
To prepare for the Games, the Kentucky Horse Park is currently undergoing a major overhaul for the first time in its history. New or improved roads within the Park are being built, an 8,000-seat indoor arena is under construction, and a major hotel is also underway in the park. 500 temporary structures will be built. This will be the first time all of the equestrian games are held in a single location.
Next, Debbie King and Gary Steward, Board of Trustees, Louisville Zoo Foundation; Mark Zoeller, Assistant Director of the Louisville Zoo; and Emily Goldstein, Louisville Zoo Youth Board gave a presentation on the proposed Glacier Run project. They noted that the Louisville Zoo is the only accredited zoo in Kentucky, and is one of just 216 accredited zoos in the nation. Last year the Zoo received over 810,000 visitors. The Glacier Run project will simulate a small village on the edge of an artic wilderness. There will be “nose to nose” encounters with seals, polar bears, and other artic wildlife, and the project will be geared toward providing a high-quality educational experience for visitors. To accomplish this project, the General Assembly is asked to fund $7.5 million to help with construction costs.
Finally, Lynn Witten, President, Kentucky Manufacturing Assistance Center and Jeff Waldal, Corporate Vice President, Ceradyne and President of Semicon Associates presented information on the legislative history of the Kentucky Manufacturing Assistance Center, the role it fills in providing technical help to manufacturers, and the changes that have been made in how such services are provided and to whom they are provided in the wake of budget cuts. Ms. Witten testified that prior to last fiscal year’s budget cuts, the Center was able to provide much more extensive assistance to rural manufacturers, but now they are more constrained in doing so because of staff cuts. Mr. Waldal testified about the value of the Center’s assistance, and how greater productivity and efficiency are important to small manufacturers in order to remain competitive in a global environment. Ms. Witten explained that because of state budget cuts, there were federal dollars that were unable to be matched, thus the Center was doubly impacted by the budget cuts.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 3:10 PM.