The Chicago Bears have been stymied thus far in plans to win tax breaks to build a new stadium in Arlington Heights. That’s opened the door to other communities to try and lure the team, but Chicago might still be in the game. Could the city come up with a late comeback and lure the Bears to stay?
Arlington International Racecourse
The north suburban community of Waukegan is the latest town to get in on the high-stakes game of bidding for the Chicago Bears, joining Naperville, Chicago and Arlington Heights.
Mayor Brandon Johnson and Chicago Bears President Kevin Warren met Wednesday, a clear sign that relations between the city and the Monsters of the Midway have thawed, which may set the stage for talks to keep the team in Chicago, if not at Soldier Field.
Conversations about alternate locations for a new Bears stadium have also reignited the possibility of the team sticking with the city, with a source telling WTTW News that talks between the city of Chicago and the team could resume as early as this week.
Building a stadium on the former Arlington Heights racetrack “is no longer our singular focus,” said Scott Hagel, the Bears senior vice president of marketing and communications.
The Chicago Bears are on the verge of leaving its home of 51 years, despite efforts by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to keep the team in Chicago.
The Bears hosted a community meeting Thursday in north suburban Arlington Heights about their plans for a new stadium and entertainment district, and there’s no shortage of opinions.
In renderings released Tuesday of a proposed master plan for Arlington Park, the Bears stressed that the “stadium shown is a placeholder and not an actual design.” But that didn't stop people from poking fun at the artwork.
The Bears announced “an informational community meeting” will be held Sept. 8 during which the team’s potential purchase and redevelopment of the former Arlington International Racecourse will be discussed.
The Duchossois family — whose late patriarch, Richard Duchossois, purchased Arlington Park in 1983 — has announced the sale of its 246.5-acre Hill ‘N Dale Farm South property to Barrington-based Citizens for Conservation, ensuring the land’s protection as open space in perpetuity.
Mayor Lightfoot unveiled three options to renovate Soldier Field, ranging in price from $900 million to $2.2 billion. The mayor, who is running for a second term, declined to say how much public funding she was prepared to spend to prevent the Bears from leaving the city and moving to Arlington Heights.
Governor says city, team need to ‘work out their differences’
While Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he’d be disappointed if the Chicago Bears no longer played in the Windy City, he said the state isn’t planning on intervening and that city officials and the team need to “work out their differences.”
A Bears season ticket holder, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she would approach negotiations to keep the Bears in Chicago not as a fan but as the steward of taxpayer funds and as a “business decision.”
The Chicago Bears are seriously bidding to buy the plot where Arlington Park has been for decades. What the sale could mean for the Chicago area.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot dismissed the announcement Thursday by the Chicago Bears that the team was seriously considering leaving Soldier Field, where they are locked into a lease through 2033.
It’s home to trainers, jockeys and others in the horse racing industry. And during summer weekends, it’s a place for fans to bet on their favorite racehorse. Arlington International Racecourse is officially open for what could be its last season.