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Orchard Park residents share their concerns for new Bills stadium

The open roof and high taxpayer contributions were among the issues discussed at a forum Thursday night.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — A new stadium is supposed to mark a new era, but for Orchard Park residents who say they haven’t seen a dime from the $3.4 billion team in their backyard, they worry it will just be more of the same.

“That’s been the case for 50 years,” Erie County Legislator John Mills said.

After the Buffalo Bills released renderings for its new stadium set to open in 2026 Thursday morning, community members gathered in Orchard Park for a SEQR Public Scoping Meeting to share their thoughts and concerns for the new stadium.

One of the issues residents had was the new stadium not having a roof because while the team may benefit from out-of-town rivals freezing in the snowy conditions, residents say the surrounding economy freezes too.

“Why can they make that decision?” said Don Lorentz, executive director for the Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce. “Why can’t it be retractable so we can get 12 months out of the year?”

Residents also expressed their frustration over the stadium receiving for a whopping $850 million of public funding coming straight from their pockets.

“Why should even a portion of my retirement go to pay for a new stadium,” one resident said.

“It's just the amount that the individual taxpayer ends up paying for the stadium for a stadium that's going to be used for at most 20 games a season and that's if we had no away games,” another added.

They are frustrations that fueled community organizations to push for a community benefits agreement that promises the team will invest $500 million directly into Western New York over the next 30 years.

And while the agreement has yet to be reached, Mills says it can be expected by Dec. 1.

“I don’t anticipate there not being an agreement,” Mills said. “I think this is going to move forward.”

All the comments made at Thursday evening’s event at will be answered publicly by Nov. 23, and Western New Yorkers can continue to submit comments until Nov. 2.

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