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Bills-stadium_jpg-300x199Roger Goodell thinks the Bills need a new stadium to remain viable in Western New York. Experts say there’s little chance of the team moving before 2022, thanks to the stadium lease that’s costing taxpayers $95 million in renovations to Ralph Wilson Stadium. But after 2020, all bets are off – unless the Bills have a new, taxpayer-financed home.

If you agree the Bills need a new stadium – and even the Erie County Executive is skeptical – why would you build one in Erie County’s suburbs? How would that be so different from the Bills current home? People would drive in and drive out. You wouldn’t keep them around for any spillover development.

But check out this plan for a suburban Bills stadium. Scott Congel would like it to be located on his ailing plaza property in West Seneca. He has a grand $700 million redevelopment proposal for the site. The Buffalo News reports:

(Congel) unveiled plans for a mixed-use, public-private mega-project with two hotels, residential apartments, office buildings, retail, a theater, community facilities featuring twin hockey rinks and vast underground parking.

Congel wants a 30-year payment-in-lieu of taxes agreement for his plan. (YES, IT’S MEDLEY CENTRE ALL OVER AGAIN!) Here’s what Erie County Executive Mark Polocarz tweeted:

Here’s where the Bills come in. Tom Golisano is interested in buying the team and is reportedly in talks with Congel about putting a stadium on that plaza property. Not only would taxpayers help Congel build his fantastical development, they would also fork over at least several hundred million dollars for a Bills stadium at the site.

Meanwhile, Erie County already owns land right next to Ralph Wilson Stadium where a stadium could be built. If you’re going to build a suburban stadium, why not just keep it Orchard Park? Why not…just keep Ralph Wilson Stadium?


Poloncarz tweeted there should be no deal for Congel unless it’s linked to “new net economic wealth for the region.” That same standard should applied to a new stadium. Economists agree stadiums don’t pay for themselves and having an NFL franchise doesn’t pay, either.

Meanwhile in Rochester, the LPGA is saying adios. It’s sad to lose such a great tradition. But we didn’t see politicians lining up to build new golf courses or throw money at the organization. Ladies golf is far inferior to men’s football in our culture. The LPGA is a multi-million dollar organization. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar organization. But which one demands your tax dollars to stick around?


Links of the Day:


– The FBI may be looking into Phase One of the RCSD’s Facilities Modernization Program. Meanwhile, Phase Two is in limbo.

– Being lieutenant governor doesn’t usually lead to great things.

– CEOs continue to get their personal airfare paid by companies.

– This is dumb. A Long Island school banned backpacks and lockers to keep kids safe.

The dandelions and the rats at East High School.

Little free libraries popping up around Rochester.

9 Responses to None of This Makes Sense

  1. May 29, 2014 at 10:29 am lynn e responds:

    Congealed exploits communities and these tax laws. A really bad person.

  2. Like, what is a Bills ???

  3. May 29, 2014 at 11:33 am Andrew Zibuck responds:

    I don’t think they need a new stadium, but if they build one, it should be a domed stadium north of town, close to Niagara Falls (the water, not the city, necessarily). They would probably get a Super Bowl.

  4. May 29, 2014 at 4:23 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    The current renovations of Ralph Wilson Stadium are actually $130M of state money. Why waste $1-2B on a new stadium down the road, therefore? Just as I thought Sahlen’s Stadium was a bad idea and Frontier Field was built when the loans were not paid off for Silver Stadium’s renovation and Pataki forgave the loans. SU also does not need a new stadium/arena with state tax dollars when there is also nothing wrong with the current Carrier Dome. Why not instead spend far less money in state dollars, $2M annually to be exact, to restore Empire State Summer Games instead of wasting state money on dumb things.

  5. Haven’t been to ‘Bills game in ~15 years, and only to see ~Peyton Manning with a friend who is a Colts fan. Would only attend a game if stadium were in i.e. Batavia.

    They will bury themselves staying in Buffalo. Sorry, they can’t even fill the stadium now. They need a new novelty for the unwashed masses to embrace i.e. Batavia area.

    I wouldn’t mind a tax increase to kep them in wesrern NY. Dallas taxpayers did it.

  6. May 30, 2014 at 8:09 am Animule responds:

    Actually, Rachel, this all makes perfect sense. If Western New York was ever to lose the Bills, the political class and their enablers might actually have to face the fact that this part of the state has become an economic backwater over the past 20 to 30 years. Much of that is due to state and local government’s insatiable appetite for tax dollars. The Bills offer a convenient “bread and circus” way to distract the public and avoid confronting the fact that corporate America has largely abandoned Western New York.

    The LPGA’s announcement on pulling out of Rochester after this year is telling since the real reason the tour won’t be coming back is lack of viable corporate sponsorship. Nobody wants to face the fact that Rochester lacks the corporate critical mass to fund a yearly tournament like the LPGA anymore. But the same applies to the Bills and those acres of luxury boxes that will have to be rented and seat licenses paid with a pricey new stadium. Western New York has become much poorer since Rich Stadium was built in the 1970s. But losing the Bills for good would force a much needed re-examination in how we got this way. The political class will spare no expense to avoid this from happening.

  7. Gotta keep our bread and circuses don’t we?

  8. Rachel:

    Can’t disagree with one word you’ve written. Though it would be sad to see the Buffalo Bills leave Western NY, it would be far worse to have Erie County-NY State taxpayers foot the bill for a completely superfluous NFL stadium.

    I attend just one game a year at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The stadium is in fine shape, and is plenty good enough for the likes of the Bills. Not only are we taxpayers pouring in tens-of-millions of dollars of new tax money for on-going renovations, but as recently as 1999 NY State taxpayers coughed up at least $63 million for stadium renovations at ‘the Ralph’.

    I have been an NFL fan since childhood, but let’s face it: If NFL owners and their commissioners weren’t so good at convincing elected officials and their supporters that taxpayers should always fit the bill for ALL new NFL stadiums, pro football in America could simply stay in what were recently state-of-the-art facilities that were prematurely torn down (i.e. Pontiac Silver Dome-Lions; Giants Stadium-Giants; and very recently the H.H. Humphrey MetroDome-Vikings) in favor of billion-dollar behemoths.

    Long live the Buffalo Bills! But let Tom Golisano or Donald Trump kick in at least 75% of the money allegedly needed for an unnecessary new stadium if they want to own the team so badly. Prediction? Don’t hold your breath.

    Christopher J. Wilmot
    Pittsford, NY

  9. June 1, 2014 at 1:03 am Orielly responds:

    First, there should be laws established nationwide on what criteria would allow an NFL team to move. ie Attendance below 65% for 3yrs with a team with a winning record. The Bills have been threatening to leave numerous times and attendance has been good. The NFL does not compete in free market and free market rules should not apply, especially when they demand tax dollars for new stadiums.

    ON the “FBI may be looking into Phase One of the RCSD’s Facilities Modernization Program” could you please tell us if the people who served on the over see board were paid for their work? Lois Giess for example per her bio has no actual private sector business experience but was one of 7 on the board overseeing a 1BILLION dollar building project. She may have led the board at one time. She was also on the city council that approved the HIGH falls waste and the FAST Ferry.
    AS with the MCC BOT exposure of party affiliation and experience at the time of the MCC President selection scam, the Board overseeing this 1B project should be named and exposed. In this case this board actually cost we the tax payers money and its likely —-apparently with the FBI involved —someone or group also took, robed (made) money illegally out of this deal and lack of proper management. Tell us who was on this board, were they paid, and what do they say or claim about this FBI investigation ?

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