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Erie Co. legislature hosts first public meeting on new Buffalo Bills stadium

The majority of people who spoke during the virtual meeting supported a stadium in downtown Buffalo with a dome.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — All eyes were on Highmark Stadium as the Buffalo Bills took on the New England Patriots during Monday Night Football.

Just ahead of the game, the Erie County legislature hosted its first of three public virtual meetings about a new Buffalo Bills stadium.

The majority of people who spoke during the virtual meeting supported a stadium in downtown Buffalo with a dome.

"I also agree that the stadium should be built downtown,” said Margaret Niedepreum. “I currently work at Shea's Performing Arts Center and I see the positive impact that live events have on the city and businesses that are downtown near Shea’s every weekend."

Some people brought up tonight’s snowy game at Highmark stadium as a reason the new stadium should have a dome, in addition to being able to host other events year-round. Many mentioned how much a downtown stadium will benefit local business and increase tourism.

Others added that they don't want the city of Buffalo to miss this opportunity for growth.

"We know with the planning in Niagara Falls how we shot ourselves in the foot, nothing got done and as a result and as you see it now, it’s horrible,” said Tracy Smith. “I’d hate to see Buffalo do the same thing and miss this opportunity.”

One concern some people had with a downtown location is that it could be built at the current Perry projects and may displace those who live there. 

During Monday’s public meeting a representative from the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA) said they support a downtown location as long as alternate housing is given to those who live there.

Buffalo Bills owners Pegula Sports and Entertainment have pegged a location they want for the stadium across the street from the current site on Abbot road near ECC's south campus.

However, of the nearly 30 people who spoke during the public hearing, only one person spoke in support of the Orchard Park location

"I think Buffalo, if it was downtown would be more like Nashville Tennessee and there goes your tailgating, and people live for tailgating in Western New York,” said Wayne Taneff.

Last month, Governor Kathy Hochul said negotiations are ongoing with Erie County and the Pegulas and said we can expect to know more when she announces her state budget in January.

The Erie County legislature is not involved in the negotiation process but will need to approve the final stadium contract.

If you would like to take part in the conversation, there are two more public virtual meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday at 6 p.m.

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