Monday, January 23, 2006

PaeTec Park: Yea or Nay?

I just came across the latest photos of the construction progress at PaeTec Park, the future home of our beloved Rochester Raging Rhinos (aka, The Green & Gold) currently of the USL First Division, but soon to be part of Major League Soccer. The stadium is due to open this Spring for the Rhinos' 2006 season. It is finishing up "Phase One" of a two (or more) phase project to construct a stadium worthy of MLS and other professional leagues.

There has been much made of the amount of public funds going to help construct this stadium and there has been some resistance to allocating additional funds for future phases. Some argue that Frank DuRoss, owner, lied to the people of New York State when he said that the Rhinos would cover all additional costs of the stadium, prior to revealing that he would seek state funds to help cover the costs of "Phase Two". My selective memory does not see it this way. As far as I remember, or choose to remember, the Rhinos agreed to a lesser amount of state funds in 2004 in order to have a soccer-specific stadium built in time for the 2006 season. They never said that they would not seek additional funds to construct needed extras such as luxury boxes, jumbotrons, and additional seating. Also, I don't believe that the Rhinos forced the City to reconstruct Broad Street in the vicinity of the stadium, yet the media is adding that cost to what the public sector has spent on the project. Seems unfair to me.

As you can tell, I support the stadium and think that it needs to be the best stadium that it can be. If we can build it up-to-snuff, I would venture to guess that we could convince our hometown boy Malcolm Glazer to bring his Manchester United to town for a couple friendlies. That would be an event of international significance and would probably generate enough tax receipts to justify the additional funds needed. Also, if it has enough seating, the Buffalo Bills might be willing to play an intra-squad scrimmage, if not a full-fledged preseason game there.

If I had to criticize the stadium, at least its current "Phase One" design, I would question why the concession/restroom facilities are located in separate buildings along the periphery of the stadium itself. Going to get an ice-cold refreshing Genny Light during the game could mean a 20-minute jaunt from your seat. That's enough to make me stay in my seat and pay the extra money for a beer from the roving vendors. that's why they designed it like that.

Photos are from the Rochester Raging Rhinos web site ( and are courtesy of Stratus Imaging.