In May 1998, ground was broken for Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

Officials from Nationwide, which had taken the lead on the privately funded arena, were joined for the event by those from the Dispatch Printing Co. (a 10 percent partner), the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team and Columbus.

"The arena must be ready for the Blue Jackets to start play in the 2000 NHL season," The Columbus Dispatch reported.

And, "as the district around the arena is developed, up to six parking garages will replace surface lots. Apartments, offices and restaurants eventually will be built in the area."

Leaving their hand imprints in cement during the groundbreaking ceremony were (from left) John P. McConnell, Columbus City Council President Michael B. Coleman, Robert Woodward, John F. Wolfe, Dimon McFerson, John H. McConnell, Ron Pizzuti, Mayor Greg Lashutka and Brian Ellis.

The Blue Jackets will open the home portion of their 19th season Friday, Oct. 5, against Carolina.