Saturday December 14, 2019
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An evaluation team will soon review 13 bids submitted during a Request For Proposals (RFP) process for the management, operation and maintenance of Louisville’s public golf courses, according to an update provided today to Louisville Metro Council President David James by Chief Financial Officer Daniel Frockt and Parks and Recreation Director Dana Kasler.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced earlier this year the city may be forced to make adjustments to the management, operation and maintenance of the 10 city golf courses as part of a series of cuts necessitated by the state of Kentucky’s pension crisis and a lack of new revenue sources.

On Sept. 13, 2019, the city issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), for management, operation, and maintenance of the courses.

The RFP process closed Oct. 22. The next step is for an evaluation team to review the proposals with a tentative completion date of Nov. 18, 2019. Following subsequent negotiations, the goal is to award a new contract(s) for operations by Dec. 31, 2019.

“We are taking great care to ensure a smooth process during this transition period,” Kasler said. “I am confident the review team will diligently explore the options found within these 13 proposals to help retain municipal golf in the city.”

Louisville Parks and Recreation golf courses are Metro-owned and currently managed independently by PGA professionals whose contracts are up at the end of 2019 – except for Quail Chase, where the contract expires December 31, 2024.

“This RFP process is designed to assist us in making the smartest and most fiscally responsible decisions for the taxpayers of this community,” Frockt said. “We also believe it will lead to more streamlined and improved golf course operations, which in this strained budget climate is critical.”

In the update to the Council president, Frockt and Kasler clarified that records related to the process will be kept confidential until a contract is awarded, under a process established per Kentucky state law to eliminate the potential of undue influence and impropriety on the evaluation team.

Also, no council members will serve on the evaluation upon the recommendation from the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office.

Frockt and Kasler also noted that Metro Government will continue to follow the union contract regarding Louisville Parks and Recreation golf course staff during this transition period. “Therefore,” they wrote, “no Metro Council member or body may bind Metro government into any manner of collective bargaining agreement, side letter revision, or memorandum of understanding (MOU).”

The letter also provided an update on course operations through the end of the year, when most lease agreements expire.

Because the PGA professionals at Shawnee, Crescent Hill and Charlie Vettiner have submitted their resignations, the letter said, Louisville Parks and Recreation, per ordinance, will staff those courses.

Beginning on January 1, 2020, course operations will fall under the new contracts awarded through the RFP process. Those courses not awarded a contract will be operated by Louisville Parks and Recreation.

Louisville Metro Government today closed on its sale of $45 million of tax-exempt bonds to Morgan Stanley & Company, with nationally recognized credit rating services S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service again affirming the city’s positive bond ratings of AA+ and Aa1, respectively.

Both credit rating agencies cited Louisville’s vibrant economy and sound fiscal management as strengths — but also expressed concern regarding Louisville’s growing state pension obligations and relatively low fund balance, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund.

The bond sale will provide long-term funding to capital projects from the FY19 budget that had been temporarily funded with a line of credit. The competitive sale generated bids from 11 companies and resulted in a True Interest Cost (TIC) of 1.89 percent for the city.

“Louisville continues to receive external validation, from both independent rating agencies and the credit markets, that we are well-run with an expanding economy,” said Mayor Greg Fischer.  “But they also recognize that we will have very limited opportunities to invest in ourselves the way our peer cities are doing because of the growing and sustained state pension increases, unless we structurally address them through either new revenue or continued budget cuts.”

The bond proceeds will fund a variety of projects from the FY19 capital budget, including the completion of the recently opened Northeast Regional Library and the Metro Animal Services shelter. Projects also include ongoing maintenance and repair projects related to street paving, sidewalks, bridges, parks, the Zoo, Metro facilities, and public safety vehicles.

S&P again affirmed its second-highest rating of AA+ with a stable outlook for Metro Louisville.

In its report, S&P factored in Louisville’s “strong economy” and “strong management” but warned that their assessment “could be weakened in the future if we believe its budget shows signs of strain in accommodating future pension contributions.”

Moody’s again affirmed its second highest rating of Aa1 with a stable outlook for Metro Louisville.

Moody’s report cited Louisville Metro’s “sizeable and growing tax base serving as a regionally important economic hub” as a factor in assigning the Aa1 rating, but also expressed the city’s credit challenges related to “lower reserves and liquidity relative to national peers” and a “higher pension burden compared to medians for the rating category.”

The rating agencies recognized the strength of Louisville’s economy, evidenced by $14 billion of capital investment since 2014, 80,000 new jobs and 2,700 new businesses since 2011, rising wages and an unemployment rate below four percent, said Louisville Metro Chief Financial Officer Daniel Frockt.

“Mayor Fischer’s vision of an equitable and vibrant Louisville continue to garner positive results when we go to the capital markets,” Frockt said.  “We are also receiving feedback that we will need a longer-term plan to address the mounting pension obligations over the next several years.”

On Thursday, Frockt will be providing an update on the sale and credit reports to the Metro Council Budget Committee.

As Louisville Metro Government works to address budget constraints caused by the increasing state pension obligation and lack of new revenue, Louisville Parks and Recreation today issued a request for proposals (RFP) for management, operation, and maintenance of its 10 golf courses.

The city is accepting proposals until October 15, when the process will be closed, and the proposals will be evaluated. Interested parties can learn more about the solicitation including deadline dates and requirements at the city’s procurement web page, https://louisvilleky.gov/purchasing. The accepted proposals may include lease, hybrid or concession options.

Louisville Parks and Recreation golf courses are Metro-owned and currently managed independently by PGA professionals whose contracts expire at the end of 2019 – except for Quail Chase where the contract expires December 31, 2024. The state alcoholic beverage licenses for the PGA professionals expire at the end of October.

Deed restrictions on the golf course properties ensure that nine of the 10 Metro-owned golf courses must remain public spaces and used for recreational purposes, meaning that they will not be turned over for commercial or real-estate development. Bobby Nichols Golf Course in southwest Louisville is the only course with no such restriction.

The city issued a request for information (RFI) this spring to gauge interest and gather ideas for use of Metro’s golf course properties. The responses to the RFI helped in the development of the RFP being released today.

ABOUT LOUISVILLE PARKS AND RECREATION GOLF:
Louisville’s 10 public golf courses offer a quality golfing experience at some of the most affordable prices in the nation. Each course has its own unique character, and some consistently rank among Kentucky’s best and most challenging courses. The 10 municipally-owned golf courses meet the needs of everyone from beginners to scratch golfers. For more information, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/parks/golf-courses.  Continue reading

Bourbon City to Headline Travel South USA International Travel Showcase

Travel South USA is excited to announce the upcoming locations for its annual International Showcase through 2023; Louisville, Kentucky (2021); Memphis, Tennessee (2022); Atlanta, Georgia (2023).

International travelers mean big business for the south and connecting with tour operators and trade journalists in 7,000+ pre-scheduled business appointments is a key marketing tactic for the region. This program combines outstanding entertainment, city tours, and evening events along with curated content during meal functions and is considered the premier marketing opportunity to showcase the rich music, food, culture, history and hospitality of the South.

Louisville continues to strike a balance between its role as a capitol city for America’s most venerable spirit, Bourbon, and its 21st century position as one of the most energetic places in the country to eat, drink and explore. Travel South USA describes Louisville as having the atmosphere and attraction of a big city with the hospitality and heart of a small one. They cite that often the globalization of society has made larger cities seem homogenous, however as Louisville is home to the Kentucky Derby, Muhammad Ali and Louisville Slugger, the city has been able to retain its cultural authenticity.

The city continues to garner national accolades including TravelAwaits “Most Affordable U.S. Cities to Visit in 2019,” and Southern Living’s “The South’s Best Food Cities 2019” as well as Business Insider’s “8 Best Places to Visit in the U.S. if you Love Bourbon.”

“Louisville is ready to open its doors to Travel South USA and the lucrative travel trade market. The timing is perfect as the city’s tourism product is more sought after than ever before, said Karen Williams, President & CEO of Louisville Tourism. “We’ll be ready to show Travel South delegates why Louisville is one of the hottest destinations in the US,” she said.

The state and city hosts will have the opportunity to feature the exclusive experiences found around the state and in the city destination to over 100 International Tour Operators from about 20 countries from around the world. Working together, over 300 tourism professionals from destination marketing organizations, hotels, attractions, restaurants and global partner representatives will meet one-on-one with top International Buyers and U.S. Receptive Tour Operators with a goal to build more visitation, spend more time and money in the South, and generate awareness of the diverse destinations found within the region.

Meeting planners looking to ‘connect’ with peers and suppliers will be assembling in Louisville August 26-28 for Connect Marketplace, a leading tradeshow in the meetings, events, travel and tourism industry. Approximately 4,000 meeting professionals will be attending Connect Marketplace around the one-year anniversary of the renovated and re-opened Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC).

The opening address will be given by retired American competitive swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history with 28 medals. To conclude the conference, the closing keynote will be delivered by Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman, a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, focusing on raising awareness of ending violence against women and girls.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to once again showcase the city of Louisville to such an important audience,” said Karen Williams, President and CEO of Louisville Tourism. “Hosting Connect Marketplace 2019 will support our mission to continue attracting world-class industry tradeshows in Louisville. This will be the second time Connect Marketplace has been to Louisville, and we plan to take every opportunity to show the best our city has to offer, including the explosion of tourism infrastructure over the last decade.”

Connect Marketplace organizers committed to hosting this show in Louisville in the fall of 2017 after confirming it would be ready before 2019. They last met in Louisville in 2010. The estimated economic impact to Louisville from the three-day conference is $4.4 million, however the city stands to benefit additionally from the prospective future convention bookings that occur as a result of showcasing Louisville’s convention package to these key site selection decision makers.

“We are so pleased to be the host city for the 2019 Connect Marketplace,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “This is a time of great transformation for our city, and we’re proud to host the meeting industry’s top event professionals and give these decision-makers a front-row seat to the nearly $1 billion in tourism-based infrastructure improvements underway here.”

Louisville Tourism planned several initiatives to help the city stand out. Some of the key elements of the welcome program include sponsoring a pink-out opening party at Churchill Downs for breast cancer awareness, chalk art downtown and arranging free artist entertainment outside the convention center in the form of buskers. The buskers are part of the Art in Lou pilot program in partnership with the Fund for the Arts to provide artists with paid opportunities to perform for the community in public spaces, providing a welcoming, lively atmosphere for visitors and residents.

Gov. Matt Bevin today joined federal, state and local officials in Georgetown to announce $3,471,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for housing rehabilitation projects across the Commonwealth.

These federal funds, allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and administered by the Kentucky Department for Local Government (DLG), will benefit 45 families in central, north, east and west Kentucky.

“We are excited to announce nearly $3.5 million in CDBG funding that will benefit families here in Georgetown and across the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Bevin. “Increasing safe, affordable housing is vital to strengthening our communities and promoting economic opportunity. We are grateful to our federal, state and local partners who will help us make these projects a reality for homeowners in Campbell, Christian, Hopkins, Perry and Scott counties.”

CDBG awards include:

  • $804,000 to the Campbell County Fiscal Court for the rehabilitation of six vacant and dilapidated houses for sale to low- and moderate-income families,
  • $791,000 to the City of Hazard (Perry County), for the acquisition and demolition of a shopping center to construct 15 new single-family homes,
  • $366,000 to the City of Crofton (Christian County), for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of five homes for low- and moderate-income families,
  • $510,000 to the City of Georgetown (Scott County), for the rehabilitation of eight homes in the Boston area, and
  • $1,000,000 to the Hopkins County Fiscal Court for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 11 homes for low- and moderate-income families.

Mayor Tom Prather noted the impact of today’s grant announcements, which took place in a ceremony at Georgetown City Hall.

“Georgetown is delighted to host Gov. Bevin for these important announcements! We are excited about efforts to improve our neighborhoods, and grants like the Governor announced today are critical to the success of each community represented,” he said.

Members of the community’s delegation to the General Assembly also celebrated the major CDBG funding awards.

“These critical projects are an excellent illustration of government agencies working together to improve communities in all corners of the Commonwealth,” said Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, of Georgetown. “This investment will have a tremendous impact on the quality of affordable housing in Georgetown and in other communities across Kentucky. I’m grateful to Gov. Bevin and the Department for Local Government for their support of this project.”

“Increasing the available stock of affordable housing and improving our neighborhoods are two very important issues in the City of Georgetown,” said Representative Phillip Pratt, of Georgetown. “These grant awards provide a much-needed opportunity to revitalize our communities, and I’m grateful to Gov. Bevin and DLG Commissioner Sandy Dunahoo for coordinating these grants.”

The CDBG grant program, overseen by HUD, provides assistance to communities for use in revitalizing neighborhoods, expanding affordable housing and economic opportunities, providing infrastructure and/or improving community facilities and services. CDBG projects must comply with federal regulations, and funding is determined based upon project needs, reasonable costs, and overall effectiveness.

DLG is an arm of the Office of the Governor dedicated to supporting local officials and communities. To learn more about resources and opportunities available through DLG, visit http://kydlgweb.ky.gov.

Crews on The New Dixie Highway Project are completing median construction on a critical, busy section of the roadway in the heart of Shively. The section between Herbert Avenue and Crums Lane, which includes Shively City Hall and the on-ramp to I-264, will have all lanes open and in their final configuration on Monday.

The opening of all four lanes in this section will be a significant improvement for drivers. For the past six months, there has been only one southbound lane on this busy section of roadway – which carries an estimated 60,000 vehicles a day. For about a month, there has also only been one northbound lane on that section.

As with the rest of the project, the final surfacing and landscaping is slated for completion during the spring and summer of 2020.

“We appreciate the patience of everyone who drives this section of highway,” said Project Manager John Callihan. “We drive it too, and we know it has been frustrating at times. But the result is a safer, more efficient roadway for all of us.”

Drivers should continue to stay alert to shifting work zones on Dixie Highway. In addition to the opening of lanes between Crums and Herbert, work crews will also be reopening lanes between Greenwood Road and Wells Drive as well as between Meyer Lane and Upper Hunters Trace.

Median work will shift to other locations, causing new lane closures between Gagel Ave. and Kendall Road.  The existing lane closure between Blanton Lane and Meyer Lane will remain in place as work continues.

By installing medians, The New Dixie Highway Project is restricting mid-block left turns – and guiding drivers to turn at signalized intersections or designated U-turn points.  Installing medians is both the most transformative part of The New Dixie Highway project – but also the most dangerous for workers because they will be working in the middle of the roadway with traffic on both sides.  Video about the medians and about the use of U-turns on Dixie Highway are available on YouTube.

Medians are “non-mountable” so passenger vehicles cannot drive over them. Widths will vary with available space – with landscaping at key locations. While it may seem counter-intuitive to drivers, restricting mid-block left-turns creates not only a safer corridor, but a more efficient corridor. Some drivers will have to drive slightly further to reach their destination, but the improved efficiency and reduction in collision-related congestion will mean a better traffic flow for everyone.

The New Dixie Highway Project broke ground in December of 2017, and all the major components will be complete in December 2019.

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