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Controlling Board Approves Facilities Authority Arena Loan

The state Controlling Board has unanimously approved a $10 million state loan to help the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority buy Nationwide Arena. The bi-partisan board, made up mostly of state legislators and a governor appointee, approves state agency budget changes and loans – such as the one requested by the facilities authority. “We’re not a rubber stamp, but when you’re the last person in the process a lot of other people have done their work. I look at it almost as building inspectors or something, you’ve had inspections all throughout the process and that final occupancy permit usually goes forward if everyone else has done their work right," Cole said. The $10 million loan will go toward the overall $42 million price tag. The city and county will use up to a third of the annual tax revenue from the not-yet-built west side casino to pay off the loans. Nationwide is loaning the city and county the rest of the money. Officials continue to write up a lease and user agreement for the deal. While Columbus City Council endorsed the purchase last month, Franklin County Commissioners have yet to sign off on it. That vote is expected sometime this month.