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Governor's budget plan includes Ralph Wilson Stadium funding

WBFO News file photo

Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget includes $54 million of the state's share of the planned rehabilitation of Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park.  The renovation of the aging stadium is part of a ten-year lease for the facility, a lease which includes provisions for looking into building a completely new stadium down the line.  A lease agreement was recently reached between the state and Erie County.

Repairs are supposed to cost around $130 million and the state and county are now putting together a schedule for when they will start and in what order the projects will take place. The Buffalo Bills say the goal is to enhance the fan experience for those who are at the games.

Deputy County Executive Richard Tobe said the proposed state share will keep the plan on schedule.

"The schedule calls for the  state money to be available on or about April 1, when new state budget is schedule to be adopted, and this is the logical step to cause that to occur," said Tobe.

Erie County will have to start putting up some cash around that same spring period, although spending this year will be smaller than next year, because this year is mostly planning and paperwork while next year is major construction.

Tobe said stadium renovations this year will include some essential repairs and a lot of installation of railings throughout the stands for safety reasons.

The  County Legislature is expected to approve the memorandum of understanding this Thursday for the stadium lease deal with the Bills.

"In February we are schedule to go back to them for a bond resolution," said Tobe.   We still have a lot of work to do to get the construction project lined up."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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