Group wants Columbus arena payment issue on ballot

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A group wants Columbus residents to vote on whether the city should be paying for its professional hockey team's home arena, and it has collected enough signatures to get the issue on the May ballot.

That means voters will be asked whether to end the city's purchase contract for Nationwide Arena, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Columbus Dispatch ( ) reports elections officials confirmed the citizens group collected more than the roughly 5,000 verified signatures needed to put the initiative on the ballot.

The president of the group says it doesn't object to the arena but thinks the public should have had a say in the purchase agreement. The city and county agreed in 2011 to use casino tax revenue to help buy and maintain the facility for decades.