by Pat Freeman
Building a stadium in downtown Buffalo , New York has quickly become one of the primary topics of conversation in western New York . One of the primary concerns of such a massive project is the financing of such a major endeavor that could change the landscape of this economic region, and become the spring board of economic job growth that we have not seen in many years.
First let’s assume that this stadium will be built with Public and Private Funds and start from there by making an analysis of possible financing mechanisms to accomplish our goal.
Let’s look at what our financial goal is and work from there- $900,000,000 is our target goal to accomplish the project of Building a stadium/ Convention center project.
Stadium cost- $750,000,000
Convention center- $150,000,000
Step one is to set up a web site that would appeal to the rebirth of a once great northern city, and link it to all the social networks. The goal of this web site is to solicit donations, and have your name engraved in the builder’s hall of this project forever.
The web site’s goal is to sell 1.5 million bricks for the builders use in this project.
Patron contribution- $100.00
Bronze Contribution- $250.00
Silver Contribution- $500.00
Gold Contribution- $1000.00
Platinum Contribution- $5000.00
This project’s goal is to raise between $150,000,000- $500,000,000.
Now this project would be ongoing until 1.5 million bricks have been paid for with a goal of 12 months to accomplish this goal.
Let’s say we raise $250,000,000 and the Buffalo Bills have decided to become part of this. One option is now to apply for the NFL Matching funds stadium construction Loan or G4 Program which Senator Chuck Schumer has referred to.
$250,000,000+ $250,000,000= $500,000,000
Now each NFL team is eligible for $150,000,000 from the NFL G3 Stadium construction loan program. Now we have $500,000,000+$150,000,000= $650,000,000
Now we have now raised 650,000,000 and we now begin soliciting Naming rights to the stadium with a goal of $300,000,000 20 years. $15,000,000 per year.
We thus have now arrived at a figure of $950,000,000 with a possible 1.5 Billion dollar range.
Transportation and Parking
It’s obvious a project of this magnitude will need a comprehensive Transportation, and parking plan to move large amounts of people to, and from downtown Buffalo without the hassle of slow down traffic problems that has haunted our Orchard Park facility. In 2009 GPS Data study found that Ralph Wilson Stadium game day traffic to be the second worse in the NFL.
The solution to this problem can be found in our already existing rapid transit system run by the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority. This would be done by utilizing every train station beginning with the University at Buffalo as game day Park, Tailgate, and Ride Sites. This would have to be accomplished by creating partnerships with the University at Buffalo , LP Ciminelli, Canisius College , Medaille College , and points in between leading to downtown.
The UB downtown Line would be designated as East, and West Lines and all patrons attending Buffalo Bills games would be directed to these Park, Tailgate, and Ride Lots.
The Key suggestion in this proposal is to now create a North/ South Line with the same Park, Tailgate, and ride.
North Line would include, Niagara Street , Peace Bridge , Riverside , Grand Island , and Niagara Falls . All Canadian Game day Patrons would park at the Peace Bridge or Niagara Falls Stations. All RV’s would park at the Fantasy Island RV Park in Grand Island .
South Line would begin from the downtown and bring the line over towards the suggested site of the stadium in conjunction with the Amtrak Train stations creating Western New York Rail Commuter station. The South Line would precede to the Outer Harbor , Lackawanna , Blasdell, and Orchard Park Utilizing some of the already constructed parking areas also.
This plan would eventually include the connecting of Rochester , Buffalo , and points in between. Then to connect Rochester , Syracuse and points between linking four of upstate’s most prominent cities. This aggressive transportation Project would link all of the commercial attractions of this region by Public light rail transit.
All existing Bus routes would flow to Rail stations, and many routes because of this expansion would be eliminated.
In closing it is my hope that all of you realize what I’m suggesting here is the criteria for what should have already been done 30-40 years ago. These are very practical ideas that have been kicked in the waste can of the bad decisions of western New York . We now have an opportunity to change the very economic complexion of this mighty region forever but to achieve such an aggressive agenda of expansion, and building will take the cooperation of boards, elected officials and the business community. Most of all it will take the ordinary citizens to back this plan and demand that all elected officials begin to move all strategic planning resources towards making this plan a reality, and the blue print for western New York.
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