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County Facilities Authority One Step Closer To Arena Tax Exemption

Nationwide Arena
WOSU file photo
The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority expects to present a tax-exemption request to the General Assembly by the end of the year.

The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority is one step closer to submitting a request to make Nationwide Arena exempt from property taxes. The facilities authority has offered a revenue sharing deal with Columbus City Schools.

The Convention Facilities Authority has offered to pay the school district $586,000 a year instead of taxes.

In exchange, the authority wants the district to “[formally] support” the tax exemption request when it goes before the state legislature.  

Authority director Don Brown said the arena will pay the schools about what it's paying now.

Brown’s confident legislators will approve the tax exemption.

“Knowing that it wasn’t done on the backs of the school board," he said. 

The school district said it plans to act on the proposal in the “near future.”

The authority wants the exemption because its property tax abatement is set to expire. The authority said a property tax bill would further strap its finances.  It already cannot repay the loans it took out to buy Nationwide Arena. Casino revenue was supposed to pay for the arena, but the money isn’t coming in as projected.

Also as part of the deal, Columbus City Schools can use Nationwide Arena free of charge for four days to host high school graduations. 

Mandie Trimble is a former reporter for WOSU.