The provincial government says it will give the City of Regina $80 million to build a new stadium for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Although it's the first major cash commitment from a senior level of government, it falls far short of the $230 million the city had been seeking from the province for a proposed stadium/downtown redevelopment project.

To make up some of the shortfall, the province says it's open to giving the city a loan, according to a letter cabinet minister Ken Cheveldayoff sent to Mayor Pat Fiacco on Thursday.

Under the city's original plan, the stadium would be one part of a $1-billion development that also includes housing, commercial and office space. The private sector is supposed to come up with about $600 million of that.

The new stadium would be built by 2016 in Evraz Place, which is home of the fair grounds and a hockey arena, west of the current location.

The city is pushing for an open-air facility, as Mosaic stadium is now. However, the province says it wants a roof-ready stadium — it doesn't have to be covered right away, but it should be an option at some point.

With a stadium in a new location, the old Mosaic stadium grounds west of downtown would be redeveloped into 700 new housing units, plus commercial space, green space and public areas.

The city says its share, including the value of contributed land, would be about $88 million, whereas it's contribution for the stadium alone would be about $61 million.

In his letter to Fiacco, Cheveldayoff said the province won't give the city the grant for $230 million it was seeking and would only deal with the stadium part of it, not the overall project.

The $80 million maximum grant represents about 30 per cent of the stadium cost, which is in line with provincial contributions for similar capital projects, Cheveldayoff said.

Fiacco said he was happy with the provincial pledge.

"We're a lot farther ahead than I think a lot of people might think," he said.

Fiacco added he wants all of the money in place for the stadium by the end of next month.

The cost for the stadium, land, environmental cleanup, and landscaping is about $278 million, the city says.

(To read Ken Cheveldayoff's letter in larger format, click the button on the upper left)