We're hiring! Click here to read more and apply

Bills Seek New Use For Old Turf

As a new playing field is installed at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the old turf is up for grabs by nonprofit groups.

Cheektowaga-based A-Turf, a synthetic turf field builder, is in the midst of putting down a new, 86,000 square foot playing surface that will be used by the Buffalo Bills at the county-owned stadium.

Part of the project involved removing the old surface, which was installed in 2003. County Executive Chris Collins said local nonprofit organizations are invited to submit proposals detailing how they would use some or all of the old turf, which would be given away at no charge following a review process.

“It’s in very, very good condition,” Collins said. “So for anything other than NFL use, people would say this turf is practically good as new.”

Stephen Lynch, the owner of Sports Performance Park in the Eastern Hills Mall, is paying to have the 86,000 square feet of old turf hauled away from the stadium and temporarily stored at the mall until recipients are identified and selected. The old turf, which was cut up and rolled up in sections, was sitting in the stadium parking lot on Tuesday.

“Let’s get this reused,” Collins said. “That’s as green as you get, reusing something like this.”

Not-for-profits are asked to send a detailed proposal to the Erie County Parks Department, 95 Franklin St., 12th floor, Buffalo, N.Y., 14202, by Aug. 15. County Parks Commissioner James Hornung and Lynch will review the proposals and decide how the turf will be given away.

Depending on the applications, the turf could go to one recipient or multiple recipients. Collins mentioned local municipalities or schools as possible applicants, noting how this spring’s rainy weather disrupted schedules for baseball and other sports due to unplayable fields.

Collins said while the turf will be given away for free, any recipient would still face a cost associated with installing the turf. He mentioned the idea of nonprofit groups raising funds to cover that expense.

Jim Dobmeier, A-Turf’s president, said the average cost of installing such a field is roughly 75 cents per square foot. The figure could vary depending on how many recipients there are, and the size of the facilities involved.

Collins said he was hopeful decisions about who would receive the turf could be made by Sept. 1.

Inside Ralph Wilson Stadium, Dobmeier beamed as he watched his company’s new turf starting to cover the playing surface. His crew began removing the old turf on July 5, and is on track to finish installing the new surface by a July 29 deadline.

“My wife and I have been season ticket holders for 20 or so years, lifelong Bills fans, grew up in the Buffalo area, want to see the team succeed, and it’s great just to be part of the process,” he said. “This is really exciting.”

Back to News & Blog »