Erie County Stadium Corp. affirms general project plan for new Bills stadium

It is hopeful all finalized documents associated with the stadium deal will be presented to the Erie County Legislature "soon"

Buffalo, N.Y (WBEN) - Groundbreaking of a new football stadium in Orchard Park continues to inch closer following a meeting Wednesday with members of the Erie County Stadium Corporation (ECSC), a subsidiary of Empire State Development (ESD).

During Wednesday's brief meeting, members voted and appointed Steve Ranalli as President of the ECSC, approved the corporation's operating and capital budgets for the fiscal year, and also affirmed the general project plan for construction of the new stadium.

With the authorization of the general project plan, this included the authorization of all the necessary agreements. The main agreements as part of the project plan includes extensions to the current lease, a lease for the new stadium, construction and development agreement, a non-relocation agreement, extension of the non-relocation agreement, a community benefits agreement, and 40 other documents pertaining to the stadium deal here-and-there.

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The next step in the process will be to get the finalized documents that have been authorized over to the Erie County Legislature for their final approval of the overall stadium deal. It is the hope those documents will be presented to the Legislature sometime in the very near future.

Once the stadium deal has been voted on and approved, the construction of the new stadium will then be allowed to move forward.

"It has to get wrapped up before June, because that's when construction is starting," said Steve Gawlik, Senior Counsel for Empire State Development. "The Bills are hoping to actually start early work in April, which is probably put up a fence, cap some utilities, but the big digging starts in June. So our timeline is we're working as hard as we can to get in front of the Legislature. Once the Legislature approves it, the documents will be signed and the Bills will be off and running."

When it comes to a deadline for the Erie County Legislature to finalize the stadium deal, Legislature Chairwoman April Baskin says they will certainly take the time that's allotted to them in order to make sure the i's have been dotted and the t's have been crossed.

"The Legislature passed a resolution that stated that we would take 30 days of deliberation when we get the documents, so that we don't move in haste. Like we just said, this is the biggest construction project not just of our generation, but in history here in Western New York. So we want to do our due diligence. We're gonna have multiple committee hearings about the documents that come before us, so you can rest assure that it's going to be a 30-day minimum."

Once the documents of the stadium deal have been presented to the Erie County Legislature for official approval, those details will then be made available for the public domain.

More details from Wednesday's Erie County Stadium Corp. meeting can be found here:

Featured Image Photo Credit: Brayton J. Wilson - WBEN