LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky General Assembly announced that it’s pledging $180 million to support the Kentucky Exposition Center expansion. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Kentucky General Assembly is pledging $180 million in funding for the Kentucky Exposition Center Expansion

  • Facilities will be modernized and expanded

  • Planners hope to add a dozen full-size soccer fields to make the Expo Center a regional hub for tournaments

  • Construction could begin as soon as next year

“In a lot of our property, you’ll find rooms and buildings and exhibit areas that are 65 to 70 years old, so the need for upgrade and competition is important,” said Kentucky Venues President and CEO David Beck.

Kentucky Venues manages the Fair and Expo Center and wants the facility to once again compete with other states that are pouring in as much as $1 billion into their expo centers.

Kentucky Venues expects to ask the state for about $400 million dollars total in funding over the next several years, and the group will work with stakeholders to try to match those dollars.

Besides modernizing the facility throughout, planners also want to flip the layout and entrance to face Interstate 65. They also want to put in 12 full-size soccer fields, which could provide up to 24 youth-sized fields. The idea being the Kentucky Expo Center would become a regional hub that brings people in for tournaments from all over the United States.

State leaders say the expansion will benefit area hotels, restaurants and other businesses. They stress it would be good for the entire state, not just Louisville. 

State leaders announced a $180 million contribution Tuesday as planners laid out ideas for the Expo Center expansion. (Spectrum News 1/Jacqulyn Powell)

“It’s not called the Louisville Fair and Exposition Center, it’s called the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, and it is something that is for all Kentucky and always has been ever since it’s been built,” said Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers (R). “For Kentucky to be strong, Louisville has to be strong. It’s our largest, most prominent city, and it brings so many services and opportunities well beyond the geographic confines of Jefferson County.”

Planners are currently analyzing ideas and coming up with a more concrete plan for the project. They’ll present that plan to the Kentucky General Assembly later this fall.

From there, demolition and construction could start as early as next fall. The project is expected to take anywhere from three to five years. It will be done in phases, wing by wing, so the Expo Center won’t have to cancel any events or the Kentucky State Fair.