Fans in Buffalo got a look at the potential new Bills stadium this week, but apparently, not all residents in Orchard Park are thrilled with what they saw.
Given the cost of the new venue, estimated at $1.4 billion, many don’t seem to be thrilled with spending $850 million in public funding on a stadium that will see limited use outside of football season due to the harsh Western New York winters, which they argue also limits surrounding businesses.
For that reason, many seem to be fairly vocal about the fact they believe a retractable roof should be under consideration.
“Why can they make that decision?” said executive director for the Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce, Don Lorentz via WGRZ. “Why can’t it be retractable so we can get 12 months out of the year?”
The obvious argument is that leaving it as an open-air space certainly maintains the competitive edge the Bills have playing in tough conditions, but still limits how many events can be scheduled after the home games end in what will typically be no later than January. Given that the weather doesn’t tend to improve until late spring, that’s where the frustration seems to sit with most people.
The current design calls for an overhang over the seats, which according to the renderings covers about 60%. That seems to shield most of the upper deck, but seats located closer to the field are then exposed.
It’s hard not to agree with some of the residents given that when you look at how it’s designed, including a retractable roof certainly does make some sense. It also would open the door for hosting a Super Bowl, which would certainly provide a boost for those hoping to more quickly recoup their investment.
Only one open-air stadium in a cold weather city – MetLife Stadium – has had that honor in recent years, and the exception was likely made due to the fact it was at least in New York City. It’s doubtful many people outside the region are going to make the trek in February to spend a few days in Buffalo only to freeze. Not unless the Bills end up being fortunate enough to be a part of it.
This conversation will likely continue for a while, with no agreement having yet to be reached.
A decision is reportedly not expected to be finalized until at least December.
(*Portions of the above appeared in our Saturday afternoon news and notes column)
Posted Under: NFL
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