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Downtown Buffalo stadium plans pitched to Common Council committee

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Buffalo: Downtown Buffalo stadium plans pitched to Common Council committee
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — A new plan to build a mixed-use stadium along Buffalo's Outer Harbor has officially been presented to the Buffalo Common Council.

A team from Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Complex made their case to council Tuesday afternoon.

Their plan calls for a stadium with a retractable dome, a convention center and a museum run by Strong in Rochester.

Those behind the plan say the Bills could play there during the season and concerts and other events would be held at the venue year round.

HKS Sports and Entertainment, a firm out of Dallas, was hired to design the stadium.

YNN's Jon Dougherty has more on one man's effort to make it a reality.

Many fans will tell you there is nothing like game day at Ralph Wilson Stadium, but the nearly 40-year-old stadium is in need of repairs, which officials estimate would cost more than $200 million.

The Bills and Erie County are currently in the middle of lease negotiations, but there's once again renewed talks about building a new stadium within the city of Buffalo.

"Ralph Wilson Stadium is only used seven to nine times a year," Pat Freeman a downtown stadium supporter said. "We're talking about a facility that can be used year round and can bring in revenue to the region and offset your commitment of having an NFL team."

Freeman said he's formed a first class development team that has put together a design and financial proposal, outlining the construction of a mixed-use facility within the city limits. Freeman presented the proposal at Tuesday's Common Council Community Development Committee meeting. He said it's similar to Indianapolis, the city that hosted the last Super Bowl.

"That week alone it brought in $642 million to that region. That's just Super Bowl week. So now we become a player in major events," Freeman said.

Reactions from Bills fans at Sunday's game were mixed.

Robs Pontillo said, "I'd love to see it down there. With everything else that's going on downtown with the waterfront and all the new buildings that are coming in, it'd be fun."

Lindsay Pihach said, "I don't think that they should do it because Ralph Wilson Stadium has been here for so long and I think it has a tradition here and atmosphere here that I don't think you can get somewhere else."

Pat Freeman wouldn't give numbers but said a good portion of the proposed stadium would be privately funded, and would benefit the entire region.

"This is going to be a magnet of economic development and the time is right right now," Freeman said. "We have the leadership in place to get this done so let's do it!"

Freeman calls the plan a "game-changer". He also said it would help keep the Bills in Western New York for many years to come.

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