Retractable-roof stadium would enhance waterfront

This letter is written to strongly support the prospect of bringing a new Ralph Wilson Stadium where it belongs, in downtown Buffalo. Constructing this 72,000-seat, retractable-roof stadium in the footprint of Buffalo’s outer harbor would dramatically help in re-creating Buffalo, using its waterfront as an engine for ongoing economic growth.

Certainly, building a new stadium is likely to cost in the area of $800 million, if not more. However, renovating and modernizing the existing stadium will cost more than $100 million, with virtually no impact on the economic growth of the region.

Buffalo should have built a retractable-roof stadium in the late 1960s or early 1970s. A retractable-roof stadium provides the opportunity to provide a year-round venue that will attract conventions, concerts, festivals and trade shows to Western New York.

Building a stadium downtown is one decision that changes the landscape of opportunity. This kind of project generates employment and business opportunities achievable by a broad cross-section of the Buffalo-area population. As Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. said, a stadium in downtown Buffalo would “help the city save face from past mistakes,” like losing the University at Buffalo to Amherst and Ralph Wilson Stadium to Orchard Park.

The fact that companies like HKS Architects, which designed the stadiums for the Dallas Cowboys and the Indianapolis Colts, and is currently designing the new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, provides confidence in the workability of the Buffalo outer harbor plan.

L. Nathan Hare

President and CEO

Community Action Organization of Erie County