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Council keeping alive the issue of outer harbor stadium complex

The state’s recent announcement that it would transform land on the outer harbor into a state park hasn’t stopped proponents of a sports stadium and entertainment complex from pursuing an option on the land.

The Common Council, which has given its support to the project, is keeping the issue alive and will discuss the group’s plans at an upcoming committee meeting.

A letter from the Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Complex to Council President Richard A. Fontana, sent Sept. 11, requests a nine- to 12-month option on 200 acres in order to develop a stadium with 72,000 seats, a convention center, a hotel, public park and infrastructure.

The Council’s support will not be enough, however, as the state controls the land, and the project has not gained support among top government officials.

In other action Tuesday, the Council directed the city to restrict parking in front of City Court to official vehicles after court representatives raised the issue.

Bail bond company owners park their vehicles around the court, located on Niagara Square, in order to gain and conduct business. They pay to park like other drivers do, but Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen said other courts don’t allow public parking outside its doors, for security reasons.

Pridgen raised another safety issue Tuesday, saying that road races that block traffic on Lakefront Boulevard prevent emergency vehicles from reaching homes and businesses.

Waterfront Village, known for its condominiums with lake views near Erie Basin Marina, is a popular place for running events, but Pridgen said he and his neighbors there have trouble leaving their homes, or entertaining guests, when the races take place, and sometimes sufficient notice isn’t given to residents.

Under legislation adopted Tuesday, the city is asked not to approve events in 2014 that would close off Lakefront Boulevard until a traffic plan with alternative routes for affected streets is adopted.

In other business:

• The Council plans to discuss an audit of Brand-On Services’ operations at Erie Basin Marina and the Hatch restaurant in Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting. The audit, from Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder, found the company owes the city $343,245.

• Lawmakers approved payment of two claims against the city totaling $225,000.

A woman was paid $180,000 following an accident with a city dump truck Dec. 7, 2010, in South Buffalo.

Another woman was paid $45,000 in city funds, part of a $75,000 settlement following a trip and fall over the base of a missing lamp post at Delaware Avenue and Church Street in 2009.