SBD/October 4, 2011/Facilities

Columbus City Council Approves Deal To Purchase Nationwide Arena

Casino money will be used to help purchase Nationwide Arena
The Columbus City Council last night "approved using casino money to purchase Nationwide Arena," according to a front-page piece by Doug Caruso of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. The council approved the measure 6-0, with council member Zach Klein "abstaining because his law firm worked on the deal." The vote authorized Mayor Michael Coleman to "pledge a growing share of the city’s casino tax revenue to help the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority purchase Nationwide Arena for $42.5 million, and to pay millions more to operate the arena through 2039." City officials said that the deal would help keep the Blue Jackets "in town and preserve thousands of jobs in the Arena District." Coleman's Chief of Staff, Michael Reese, said, "None of us want to see an arena that could go dark if we were to lose the anchor tenant." City Auditor Hugh Dorrian said that the agreement "allows the city and Franklin County to pay off the loans on the arena early if casino revenue comes in higher than expected ... but to pay back the loans more slowly if the revenue is lower" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 10/4). 
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