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Not all fans in favor of new Bills Stadium
Buffalo, N.Y. - A team of consultants narrowed down a list of possible sites to build a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills down to four choices. From the suburban Buffalo to the city’s downtown to Batavia the consultants are looking at 13 location sites, and while the finalized list is incomplete, Buffalo News reports the four options to move onto the next round are all in Erie County.
Renovations to reconstruct the Ralph Wilson Stadium are still an option the consultants are taking into account and that’s what most fans want to see happen. In the end, the new owner of the NFL team will have the final say in what happens to the team, but fans aren’t staying quiet on the sidelines.
At the Bills’ preseason game Thursday, Rick Groth said, “No place we'd right be than right here, right now.”
Groth lives in Rochester but ‘The Ralph’ is where his heart is. “This is my 28th year and I love it,” Groth said, “Lord willing I’ll be coming here for the next 28 years.”
The team he loves, the traditions he’s built, they all happened at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Trisha Minni said, “It's got to stay here, besides my children, the best years of my life were right here.”
In talks with Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Commissioner of the NFL pushed for a new stadium to be built when the new owner takes over but the state and Erie County have already invested millions into the current facility.
“I’ve been very happy with it since the day they put it up and I’ve been coming ever since they did put it up.” Groth said, “I have no problems with this stadium at all I hope they keep it for another 50 years.”
In 2013 the state and county committed $95 million to make improvements at ‘The Ralph,’ so there are some concerns in pouring more taxpayer money into a new stadium - but Governor Cuomo said it’s something he would consider if it kept the Bills in or around Buffalo.
Groth said, “Having the Buffalo Bills and having a team that we're proud of and cheered for year after year, there is nothing more important.”
Even if the new owner moves the team to a new stadium in Erie County, fans said it just wouldn’t feel the same.
Minni said, “A team is a team, they should stay right here—it's home.”
The fans have their opinions and consultants have their list of recommendations but whether the team stays here or where it goes next will be up for the new owner to decide.
Some of the contenders with bids in to buy the team from the late Ralph Wilson’s estate are the owner of the Buffalo Sabers and The Toronto Group fronted by Jon Bon Jovi.
So while Bills fans are confident Terry Pegula is able to keep the team in Buffalo, there is also fear that The Toronto Group will move the franchise to Canada.