BUFFALO, N.Y. — For as long as there's been talk about the Buffalo Bills moving from Orchard Park, Niagara Falls has been in the conversation.
"There's no disputing the fact that southern Ontario is an important base of support for the Buffalo Bills franchise," said Mayor Paul Dyster, D-Niagara Falls.
The proximity to the border is among the biggest reasons the Bills New Stadium Working Group was already talking about the Falls when it met for the first time last week.
"It's very early days for this process and at this point I think it would be crazy to say everything wasn't on the table," Dyster said.
Dyster was appointed to the advisory committee by the governor. Dyster said although the group's scope was originally to look at stadium options in Erie County, it's already broadened.
"The lieutenant governor, who's one of the co-chairs, made clear at our first meeting that from his and presumably the state's perspective, it's important to look at all the various options," he said.
Dyster is the only elected official from Niagara County on this committee, but he says in this instance, he doesn't feel pressure to advocate for the region.
"I've said it before. I'll say it again. If we manage to keep the Bills here in Western New York long-term, then all the communities of Western New York are going to be winners," he said. "If we lose the team, we're all losers so, I think this is a real test of our ability to pull together."
Right now, Dyster said the committee needs to work quickly to put dollar figures on all the options, whether that means retrofitting the current stadium or building a new one.
"We know, presumably that for somebody to come forward and make that type of commitment, they have to know that the team is going to be financially viable long term and what type of stadium the Bills are playing in," he said.
The mayor said locations all over Western New York are in play, not just Erie and Niagara counties.