While the politicians grapple, the city becomes more and more impatient. The Buffalo Evening News supports the suburban location; the rival Courier-Express stands behind the downtown plan. Both agree that Buffalo's sports future rests on a new stadium—domed, undomed, downtown or in the country. A News editorial recently warned, "A community that cannot support major league sport in big-league fashion is relegated to second city status, inevitably."
Earlier this month the legislature made its first move off dead center by voting to permit a private investment group, the Kenford Company, to investigate the site situation and recommend a stadium location by mid-February. A number of Buffalonians believe Kenford will prompt the county to set up operation of the stadium (in a suburban location) in a fashion similar to the Houston Astrodome. This would mean Kenford would lease and operate the stadium, while its rental payments would serve to retire the county's bond issue. Provided no snags develop, the odds are highly favorable that Buffalo's domed stadium will be built in this manner.
But move it must, or Buffalo will find itself forever branded as a city of bush-leaguers, bad losers and intolerable weather. It is likely that Buffalo is none of these things, but the dismal face it presents to the world neatly conceals its virtues. And they will probably remain concealed until a spectacular venture like a domed stadium can be executed.
Despite its industrial ugliness Buffalo heartily supports the Albright-Knox gallery, an excellent zoo and the lively Studio Arena Theater. Additionally, the massive infusion of new money, ideas and personalities brought by the state university, which will enroll 40,000 students by 1970 and become one of the largest educational complexes in the world, is rattling the stodgy, hidebound elements of the city to their very foundations. Buffalo will surely change—as all the Eastern industrial cities that have been permitted to decay must change—but this in no way should alter its great appetite for sport.
Like the Buffalonian said as he ordered up another 15� beer, "One by one we ain't very pretty but, when 60,000 of us get sittin' inside that new domed stadium, some of them so-called big-leaguers are gonna think we're damned beautiful."