Public hearings coming on future Bills stadium

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Western New Yorkers will have three chances to make their voices heard on the future of the Bills stadium.

The Erie County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution Thursday requiring three public hearings before it approves a new lease or stadium construction agreement.

The resolution also established a 30-day deliberation timeline once the proposed stadium lease is “officially clocked into the record.”

The public hearings will take place at Erie Community College’s North, City and South locations at 6 p.m. or later. They will not be scheduled until more progress is made in negotiations.

The Bills’ current lease runs through July 2023.

Republicans in the Legislature had pushed for a 90-day deliberation period before agreeing to 30 days.

“I’m disappointed our initial proposal establishing a longer period for public input and deliberation didn’t receive support from my colleagues across the aisle, but I’m glad we ultimately agreed on a resolution advocating for transparency,” Legislator Joseph C. Lorigo said in a statement.

“The process was flawed and rushed the last time we voted on a stadium lease and we can’t let that happen again. This is going to be a big project impacting taxpayers in every area of Erie County. We need to consider our options from all angles and everyone should have the ability to weigh in on a new stadium. I’m proud to have led the push on this effort and look forward to reviewing the stadium proposal once it is submitted.”

The Bills have proposed a $1.4 billion stadium across the street from the current location in Orchard Park and are expected to seek substantial public funding. New York state is currently examining multiple locations, including one site in the city along South Park Avenue.

“I represent Orchard Park where the current Bills stadium sits,” said Legislator John J. Mills. “Whether the Bills want it to stay here or propose moving it elsewhere in Erie County, it’s going to have a huge economic impact on the community. I believe residents should be able to share their concerns and I’m proud to continue my advocacy for transparency and public input.”

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