Stadium plan a Wynner?

JENNY YUEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:52 PM ET

HAMILTON - Steeltown will see new life in its aging Ivor Wynne Stadium beginning in 2012.

Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina and Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young announced plans Tuesday to rebuild the 80-year-old football stadium into a 25,000-seat sports venue by 2014.

“The Pan Am HostCo deadline they gave us (Feb. 1) forced us to sharpen our pencils on both sides and figure out on both sides what is doable,” Young said. “We could not afford to squander such a generous opportunity from both the feds and the province to invest in our city.”

The plan came together less than 24 hours prior to the press conference at 11 a.m. when Young approached the mayor with the project.

Part of the agreement between the Ti-Cats and the city would see the football team take out a 20-year lease on the new stadium.

The proposal calls for the south stands to be demolished and rebuilt and the north stands to undergo a renovation with new seats and other improvements.

There might also be extended parking on the vacant industrial lands nearby.

“There will be better signage on the highways coming into Hamilton, much better access from Burlington St., naming rights and more visitors to the location,” Young said. “It doesn’t get us everything we would like, but it gets us most of the things we have to have.”

Both Hamilton city council and HostCo, which is organizing the Pan Am Games, would have to approve the plan.

It is scheduled to go before council at Wednesday’s meeting.

Bratina said numbers still need to be crunched to determine how much the rebuild will cost, but there should be “extra left over” from the $45 million from the city and the $70 million from HostCo.

“I was asked to meet and listen to a proposal, as soon as I heard the proposal and asked for some other detailed work to be done, I transmitted that directly to my colleague,” Bratina said. “There’s been no agreement that’s been made today. They’ll be fully apprised of everything they need to know to make a decision. Only a mischief-maker would suggest there was some faulty process.”

Following the announcement, Pan Am HostCo CEO Ian Troop said his organization will “not be in a position to provide additional commentary on (Tuesday’s) announcement until Hamilton’s plan has been received, reviewed and evaluated against our Games’ criteria.”


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