Browns Owner Considers Stadium Roof

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Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III meets with Cleveland council members. (Photo Credit: Fox 8 Sports Reporter Allie LaForce.)

CLEVELAND — The thought of a retractable roof has some Browns fans all stirred up, and a mixed reaction from Cleveland City Council.

Councilman Mike Polensek asked owner Jimmy Haslam III if he would consider a retractable roof at Cleveland Browns Stadium so the city can get more use out of the venue.

“One of the first acts is to talk to stadium architects,” Haslam told council. “We are open-minded. We want to use that facility as much as we possibly can.”

The Tennessee-based businessman, who has also been a minority investor in the Pittsburgh Steelers, told council he hopes the league officially approves the sale of the Browns by Oct. 16.

Councilman Michael Polensek said, “We have the possibility of a Super Bowl, Bowl games and political conventions.  We could create year-round opportunities.” 

Council President Martin Sweeney disagreed, saying, “I think the stadium was built the way we intended – it’s home of the Cleveland Browns and it could be utilized more – but I don’t think the retractable roof is the answer.”

The estimated cost would be in the ballpark of $100 million. 

Clevelanders are skeptical. 

“We talked about a retractable roof back when the stadium was built.  We were in such a hurry we didn’t address it then when I’m sure it would have been less expensive.  All these venues are supposed to bring in all this money – personally I’m a bit of a skeptic,” said Raymond Arth.

Airion Merritt said, “I love the idea.  I think that everybody will be real warm and you don’t gotta sit up there with blankets and boots – everyone can enjoy the game.”

The one thing everyone agrees on is more activities at the stadium. 

Right now, besides a handful of concerts and eight Browns home games, that place sits empty.

For more on the sale of the Cleveland Browns, click here.