BUFFALO, NY – At least for an evening in the Buffalo Common Council Room, the vast majority of people said they wanted a new Bills Stadium in the city of Buffalo.
“It’s time for the Buffalo Bills to return to the city where they were born,” said one commenter.
Another said that the construction of a new stadium represents an opportunity not to be missed.
“At least 40 of those years, probably close to 50, they’ve been in the suburbs,” said another. “I think it’s time for them to come home.”
The state, county and Bills will likely share the costs of a new facility, not the city, but council members – who have already passed a resolution in favor of a downtown stadium – say residents of Buffalo make up a third of the county and their voices should be heard.
Before the public had this opportunity, several pundits gave presentations, including comments from two of the city’s most prominent developers, Rocco Termini and Doug Jemal, who had different opinions.
“When they built the Javits Center in New York, nobody said, ‘let’s build it in Flushing because it’s cheaper.’ They said ‘we want it in Manhattan’ and we want our stadium in Buffalo, ”Termini said.
Jemal has said he’s a player but wouldn’t want to bet on the Bills’ future in Buffalo.
“We have to support the Pegulas and their decision,” Jemal said. “I think we shouldn’t be throwing darts at them for what they have decided they want to do and the decision should be their decision.”
The Bills’ property, Pegula Sports and Entertainment, prefers a site in Orchard Park. A state study released last week compared this site to a city site near the Old First Quarter.
Among those who oppose this specific city site, one of the main concerns is the displacement of more than 600 residents of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.
“We can’t bring the boys home at the expense of the people who are already there,” one person said. “These are also their homes. These are our homes. “
A BMHA commissioner who spoke, Renato Graham, said he believed the resettlement of residents was an opportunity for them to obtain better living conditions.