The Buffalo Bills' Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park is just under 40 years old. With a new lease expected to be signed this summer, some local politicians want to revisit the idea of moving the Bills' home from suburban to downtown Buffalo. The Buffalo Common Council discussed the matter Tuesday.
Common Council President Richard Fontana says bringing the Bills to downtown Buffalo is worth discussing when the state and county may be providing $100 million in improvements to the existing stadium.
"I think the timing of the resolution is better this time, because of the $100 million being proposed or bandied about to be spent on the existing stadium, so if you're going to put money into it, the question of buying a new car as opposed to keeping your old one - is it worth it?" Fontana told YNN.
The stadium opened in 1973 after much debate about whether Lancaster, another suburb, or Orchard Park would win the bid to build the stadium.The Bills last played a game downtown in 1972 at their first home - War Memorial Stadium.
While the Common Council is discussing the move, it hasn't gained much traction in a state and county facing such heavy financial problems. If the stadium were to be developed downtown, it would likely be the centerpiece of the waterfront revitalization project, but Fontana doesn't think that's the best use for that expanse of land.
"Personally, I don't really see a need to have a stadium downtown with only eight games a year played in the area, seven with the Toronto Series," said Fontana, "I don't want to see vast, open land used for parking lots in downtown Buffalo. I don't think that's the highest and best use for the land that's actually valuable in the downtown core and the waterfront."
Given the choice between using $100 million from New York State towards renovating Ralph Wilson Stadium or putting it towards a new downtown stadium, which would you prefer?