Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — Don’t rule out Niagara Falls as a potential future home of the Buffalo Bills.
Several officials say a newly formed Bills stadium task force of public and private leaders seeking to bolster the team’s long-term viability is considering sites that would put it closer to the team’s burgeoning Ontario fan base.
“We’re looking at Niagara County,” Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy told the AP this week. “We’re open to looking at a number of venues.”
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster confirmed Niagara County was discussed as an option during the inaugural meeting last week of the newly formed New Stadium Working Group committee.
Duffy made clear “that all options should be on the table,” Dyster said, adding that includes Niagara County and even Batavia, about halfway between Buffalo and Rochester.
That goes beyond the group’s initial directive, which was first limited to seeking potential stadium sites in Erie County, where Buffalo is located.
There has been talk for years about the possibility of building a new stadium for the Bills in Niagara Falls.
Speculation increased in 2012 when former Buffalo Bill and Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly suggested the city, given its proximity to the greater Toronto market, may make sense for fans and for the football team’s finances.
Some have speculated that Howard Milstein, whose firm Niagara Falls Redevelopment controls more than 400 parcels in the downtown area, could be a player in plans for a Niagara Falls stadium. Milstein formerly owned the New York Islanders in the NHL and was involved in an effort to purchase the Washington Redskins football team before it was bought by current owner Daniel Snyder.
When contacted by the Niagara Gazette on Thursday, NFR president Roger Trevino had no comment on the AP’s report.
Former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra said the southern Ontario market is critical to the Bills’ future. Giambra said Wilson discussed with him the possibility of the team playing home games in St. Catharines, Ont., while maintaining its headquarters in New York.