BUFFALO, NY - The home of the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park will be renovated in the near future and the Buffalo Common Council's Community Development Committee addressed the topic Tuesday afternoon.
A handful of speakers, including taxpayers attended the meeting. While it is not likely to happen, some of the speakers discussed the possibility of a Bills stadium in Downtown Buffalo.
"Ralph Wilson Stadium is one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL; it's no longer the great place that it used to be," said WUFO Sports Radio host Pat Freeman. "The building of a stadium in downtown Buffalo is one decision that changes the landscape of opportunity. You see we're not just talking about a home for the Buffalo Bills, but a facility with a retractable roof that can be used year round for a variety of events," he said. Freeman has done extensive research on NFL stadium deals around the country.
The Bills have a lease agreement with the County of Erie. The County Executive's spokesman told 2 On Your Side that he wants to have a new Bills lease for Ralph Wilson Stadium done by the start of training camp this summer.
2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing asked Council President Rich Fontana why the legislative body was entertaining such a discussion when they have no say in the matter.
"If someone brings to the Council an idea that entertains a new convention center, new development with a stadium that is domed, that is an exciting idea. Whether or not it is feasible is another thing," said Fontana. "We'll talk to people about chickens, we'll talk to people about any topic. So something this big, we certainly will talk about and we're not taking a stand that it's gotta (sic) be this, but it's important to hear a good idea or a potentially good idea that could come down the pike."
Ewing asked Fontana, if the city of Buffalo had any say so in the Bills lease or future, Fontana said, "no, nothing at all. We don't even decide what kind of toilet paper they use."
Bills CEO Russ Brandon sent us this statement regarding lease talks. "We're very early in the process and have nothing to report at this time."