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CFL franchise won't change park process

The city will follow its process for deciding the future of LansdownePark, even though a new Canadian Football League for Ottawa hinges onredevelopment of Frank Clair Stadium.<br />


The city will follow its process for deciding the future of Lansdowne Park, even though a new Canadian Football League for Ottawa hinges on redevelopment of Frank Clair Stadium.

Mayor Larry O’Brien said citizens will be involved in the decision-making process as the city discusses the future of Lansdowne Park over coming months. Discussions of what to do with the 40 acres of land have been ongoing, he said.

Still, he expressed his support yesterday for a new team after the CFL announced it is working with local businessmen to return football to Ottawa as soon as 2010.

“I wouldn’t be standing here today supporting the CFL franchise if it weren’t for the quality and integrity of these people,” said O’Brien.

CFL commissioner Mark Cohon confirmed Shenkman Corporation chairman William Shenkman, Minto Group chief executive Roger Greenberg, Trinity Development Group president John Ruddy and Ottawa 67s owner John Hunt received the conditional franchise.

The group, which likes Lansdowne Park for its accessibility to the entire city, will pay $7 million for the franchise if the city agrees to provide it with a suitable stadium.

“We need a world-class stadium, there’s no question about that,” said Shenkman, who believes they have the support of most Ottawans. “With their help, we can succeed,” he said.

It’s now the team’s responsibility to discuss any proposal of redevelopment with the city, said Cohon.

As for a possible name for a football team, Greenberg said the club wants to engage capital-area residents about their preference, to see if that means reprising the Rough Riders name.

 
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