'Build it, we'll play in it'
Cats owner backs any site city picks for stadium
January 14, 2010
The Hamilton Spectator
The Tiger-Cats are behind whatever Pan Am Games stadium site the city chooses, says club owner Bob Young.
Young's commitment wipes out fears the football club and city hall were on a collision course over the stadium location.
"We will make it work, whatever the site," Young said yesterday.
A report on the feasibility of two sites, the west harbour location near Bay and Barton streets, and one in the airport area around Mount Hope, is expected Feb. 18.
Young said the site selection will create some controversy, "but that will be short-lived" and everyone will move on.
The stadium is identified as a $102-million, 15,000-seat stadium for track and field at the 2015 Games, but the city has challenged the Ticats and other private partners to come up with $50 million to erect a facility of 24,000 to 27,000 seats as the new home of the Cats.
The club's home, Ivor Wynne Stadium, is near the end of its life. It costs $1.5 million a year to keep going and would cost almost $100 million to totally rebuild.
The city is committing $45 million toward the new stadium, while the provincial and federal governments will contribute $57 million.
Young has said the football club would donate "in the millions" to the project.
Yesterday, he pointed to the urgency in getting a stadium project up and running.
He's hoping for a facility that will best serve both the city and the Tiger-Cats.
Young has been meeting with prominent city business people about the stadium development. That includes Tom Weisz, the CEO of Effort Trust and chairperson of the city's Future Fund, who is a strong proponent of the west harbour site.
Hamilton's commitment of $60 million to the 2015 Games will come from the Future Fund.
Weisz believes the west harbour location best fits the fund's mandate of making a dramatic change to the face of the city through increased prosperity and enhanced community life.
Young's vote of confidence came as the 2015 host corporation board prepared for its first meeting today. Businessman David Braley, Hamilton's representative on the board, said he hopes it can get to work soon to identify a CEO and review plans for the $1.4-billion Games and billion-dollar athlete's village.