Keep open minds

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

Public or private? Or public/private?

Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers governor David Asper has prepared a proposal where he could become at least a part owner of the community-owned CFL club, he has yet to present it to the club's board of governors. Asper had said he would pursue the proposal after the Grey Cup but he isn't ready to unveil his offer yet.

And this could be the key to either erecting a new football facility or renovating the current stadium.

"Everyone had a chance to talk it over during Grey Cup week and we'll finish it off in December," Asper said from Toronto yesterday. "There's still a lot of pieces to the puzzle and we can't have any naysayers if we want a new facility.

"But a lot of work has to be done before I can take it to the board. I'm hoping to talk to them and others in the next little while."

In other words, finances for a better facility would also have to come from different levels of government.

Although those running the club have expressed their preference to avoid public ownership, the board is willing to listen to Asper.

"The football club believes the future lies in a community-owned team," Asper said. "But that doesn't mean they're not prepared to consider other alternatives. It is wise of them to keep an open mind."

Club chairperson Ken Hildahl concurred.

"We will sit down and talk to (Asper) about it," he said. "We're not going to commit to any direction and it will be interesting, I'm sure. And I'm sure that it will involve revamping of the stadium or building a new stadium."

Hildahl, however, hinted that refurbishing the existing facility is more likely than erecting a new one at exorbitant costs.

Meanwhile, Asper was relishing the success of Grey Cup week.

"I thought it all went off really well," said Asper, an honourary co-chair of the Grey Cup committee.

Asper kicked off the week by throwing a grandiose party for the media and others at his home "to get people in the right frame of mind.

"I don't know why they don't do something like this every year. Hopefully, the boys in Toronto will do something better -- on their own nickel."

The Argonauts will host the 2007 Cup.


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