New Browns owner meets Cleveland City Council, will explore idea of retractable roof at stadium

Mike Polensek asks Haslam about 'retractable roof'

CLEVELAND - It's a topic that has twisted in the wind for years around open air Browns Stadium.

Can a retractable roof be placed on Browns Stadium?

Today the Browns new owner Jimmy Haslam was asked that question by Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek.

"I've said this several times as soon as we're approved, bring in three nationally known stadium architects and you'd be crazy not too talk to all three of them and get their ideas about the stadium," Haslam said.

Browns fans want a winning team more than anything, but the 73 thousand seat stadium sits empty most of the year.

A roof on the open air stadium would mean more big events and more jobs.

But downtown Cleveland doesn't have enough hotels close together to host certain national events now.

Polensek said the cost being floated for a roof is between 80 and 120 million dollars.

Is it feasible and worth it?

"It's a shame that stadium takes up so much space and they're only in there for eight games and you can go to Chicago and other cities and they have a beautiful lakefront," said Browns fan Rebecca Lamb.

"You know how cold it is down here maybe the Browns might win if they put a roof on," said Browns fan Rufus Gray.

"It will bring more people to Cleveland so they can see how we live and we're living nice," said Browns fan Sonya Gray.

The city owns Browns Stadium, The browns lease it. The sin tax runs out in two years.

Who pays for the stadium and repairs then?

Voters usually asked to flip the bills. A win over the Buffalo Bills Sunday would be nice. But today the talk is about a retractable roof.

"We want to use that facility as much as we possibly can we want to use it more than we can now," Haslam said to members of Cleveland City Council Wednesday.

The sin tax that pays for Cleveland Browns Stadium, and for repairs to the stadium, expires in 2015.

Cleveland Browns Stadium hosts eight home games a year, including some concerts and other events, but some people have asked if the stadium could be used for more events and activities.

Of course, not being a domed stadium puts restrictions on certain events that could be held there. But during the meeting Wednesday, Haslam brought up that he wants to bring in three architect firms to look at the potential of adding a retractable roof on Browns Stadium.

About six years ago, Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek spearheaded an effort to put a dome on Cleveland Browns stadium. But that proposal was knocked down by Mayor Frank Jackson. Many believe putting a dome on the stadium would make Cleveland eligible to host a SuperBowl.

NewsChannel5 will be at the meeting and will provide you updates on key topics as they become available.

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