Niagara Gazette

April 16, 2014

Editorial: Let's go Buffalo!

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Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — It could be a whole lot of sweet nothings being whispered in our collective ears, but talk about a Buffalo Bills stadium in Niagara Falls has us chanting “Let’s Go Buffalo.” 

Already there are doubters all over town, who just don’t want to get their hopes up. We’re hearing people say they’re reminded of the time those developers of the Mall of America flirted with the Falls when they were shopping for a location for their super mall. Those fickle fellows eventually chose another city — Bloomington, Minn.

Then there was Oz, a giant play land that was supposed to be built on all that empty land out by the Summit Park Mall in Wheatfield. But the project never materialized. 

So, maybe now we’ll play hard to get. But really we just don’t want to get our hearts broken. 

Already, fast talkers on the Internet are asking how the Buffalo Bills can possibly be from Niagara Falls? As if the Buffalo team isn’t already located outside city limits.  

Sure, some Buffalonians might resent the Bills relocating, but the fact remains the team at present is located in the suburb of Orchard Park, a 20-minute drive from downtown Buffalo. If the new stadium was built in Niagara Falls, it would be about the same driving distance, perhaps even faster with direct links to the state Thruway, the Niagara Express Way (1-190) and  the international bridges to accommodate the heavy influx from the Canadian side.

And obviously the logistical nitpickers aren’t paying attention to recent efforts to co-join the region. Case in point: The Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. 

We deserve to be considered. There’s no city that’s closer to the expandable markets in Canada, no city that’s got more growth potential, and no city that has the kind of open land that we have here. And no city that needs it more.

One major player alone, Howard Millstein, owns a huge parcel of land in the heart of the city which some speculators believe is large enough to do the job — if tall parking ramps were built to accommodate the thousands of game day cars.

While that location might provide spectacular views from the cheap seats, some observers have pointed out that the team doesn’t bring much to a region beyond eight to 10 Sundays of game day activities. 

Countless matters have yet to be resolved — but it’s encouraging to know that Niagara is under serious consideration. This city is still reeling from the sharp impacts of plant closings, a steady decline in job losses and a staggering poverty rate in some neighborhoods. 

While the presence of an NFL team would not necessarily be a cure-all for a depressed economy, it may prove a kind of catalyst for reviving a city that used to tout itself as “The King of Power” and “Queen of Beauty.” 

Those of us who like to look at the bright side are simply happy to be asked to the dance.

Sure, we might not end up on the prom court, but this city hasn’t got these kinds of admiring glances from so many people in a very long time.