A one-year lease extension between the Buffalo Bisons and the city was unanimously approved by the Common Council on Tuesday, but Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen kept up his calls that Coca-Cola Field host more events to generate more revenue.
“We spend a lot of money to maintain the Buffalo Bisons in the City of Buffalo,” Pridgen said.
The new agreement is similar to one-year lease extensions that have been in place since 2008 and calls for the city to pay $131,263 in stadium-related costs for such things as electricity, water, garbage collection and insurance.
The city also pays for major upgrades to the downtown stadium, such as a new sound system, for which the Council agreed to spend $315,000 in a separate action Tuesday,
Pridgen said he knows how important the team is to the city but that more must be done to utilize the ballpark when the team isn’t playing.
The Bisons appeared to be agreeable to using the park for more than baseball, noting that in addition to 72 home games, the park hosts the National Buffalo Wing Festival, concerts, high school and college games and charity walks.
“We’re always looking to add any events we can to take advantage of this beautiful ballpark,” said Brad Bisbing, director of public relations for the team.
In other action Tuesday:
• A $42,500 settlement with Lamont D. Williams, who was shot by police after officers said he brandished a gun at them, was approved, 5-4, by the Council. Voting against the agreement were Pridgen and Council Members Bonnie E. Russell, Joseph Golombek and David A. Franczyk.
The settlement was part of a larger package of $4.3 million in payments to settle claims against the city, including $4.1 million to the families of two firefighters, Lt. Charles W. “Chip” McCarthy and Jonathan S. Croom, who died in a 2009 Genesee Street fire.
• An amendment to an agreement between the city and Erie County regarding the detention of women who have been arrested, but not yet arraigned, was approved. The county had detained individuals arrested in the city, but the city began to assume responsibility for these individuals last year, beginning with men.
• A $750,000 grant from the Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Standing Committee was approved, which will allow the city to open most of Bird Island Pier, which has been closed. The city is hoping to start work on the walkway this year.
• The Council approved a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with PUSH Buffalo, which is building affordable, energy-efficient housing on the West Side in new and renovated structures.
PUSH is planning one rehabilitated unit at 99 Chenango St., two new units at 335-339 Massachusetts Ave. and two rehabilitated units at 62 W. Utica St.
The agreement calls for PUSH to pay 3 percent of the total rental income instead of taxes. The payment increases by 3 percent during every year of the agreement.
• A $2.2 million contract with Destro & Brothers Concrete Co. was approved. It will pay for streetscaping on Carlton Street, between Michigan and Jefferson avenues, in the Fruit Belt. The project includes new sidewalks and wheelchair-accessible ramps.
• The Council approved an agreement with True Community Development Corp. that will make way for a new 9,100-square-foot Dollar General store at 663 E. Ferry St. The corporation is an arm of True Bethel Baptist Church. Pridgen, True Bethel’s pastor, recused himself from the vote.