Illinois Cities in overdrive to entice Bears



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Another option for new Chicago Bears stadium Image: Soldier Field, Mr.Konerko, CC BY-SA 3.0

A South suburb is the latest to try to lure the National Football League (NFL) team Chicago Bears out of the City (read Chicago in Illinois, US).

‘abc7chicago.com’ stated that a news release sent out in this regard read, “The Cook County (Illinois, US) Commissioner Monica Gordon is quarterbacking the effort to have the team’s management visit the Country Club Hills.”

The Chicago Bears are a professional American football team based in Chicago (US). The Bears compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s National Football Conference North Division.

The 61,500-capacity Soldier Field is a multipurpose stadium on the Near South Side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. Opened in 1924 and reconstructed in 2003, the stadium has served as the home of the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) since 1971.

The Country Club Hills is a City in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It’s a suburb South of Chicago.

The Chicago Bears are planning to move to a new stadium. In February, the NFL franchise announced it had purchased 326 acres in suburban Arlington Heights, which formerly hosted a horse racing track, with plans to move the team’s games from Soldier Field, which is owned by the City (Chicago), to a new $2 billion stadium it planned to build with an accompanying entertainment district.

However, later reports stated that the Chicago Bears are looking for alternatives to Arlington Heights for a new stadium. The team previously focused solely on the Arlington Heights, but issued a statement that its plans to move there are “at risk”.

‘abc7chicago.com’ further stated that a letter was sent to the Chicago Bears’ matriarch Virginia McCaskey and the team’s President and head honcho Kevin Warren in September.

Virginia McCaskey is the matriarch of the Chicago Bears. She is the Principal Owner of the National Football League (NFL) team.

The news release further stated, “The Country Club Hills’ strategic location near three major highways, the Metra Electric line and the Indiana border gives the Bears the opportunity to develop a world- class stadium and experience that the management purports to want for the team’s future growth.”

In September, Warren said, “The Chicago Bears will not push for a State law granting the team a long-term property tax break for a new stadium this legislative session in Springfield (capital of Illinois). Instead, they want to explore all opportunities for developing a world-class stadium, South suburban officials said.

Also in September, Warren said the organization is re-engaged with Chicago officials over the last several months.

Warren also said the team has “remained engaged with officials in Arlington Heights (Illinois) and other suburban locations”, and that they “look forward to narrowing and defining our location in the near future”.

The team has been in talks with the City and several suburbs about a potential move away from Soldier Field. In September 2021, they signed a purchase agreement for Arlington Park and have been in the process of demolishing the facilities.

But in June they announced they were no longer looking exclusively at Arlington Heights as their new home should they leave Soldier Field. The main sticking point appears to be the county’s $16 million property tax valuation for land the Bears claim has no value until they build on it.

Richton Park (village in Illinois), Aurora, Naperville, Rockford and Waukegan (all Cities in Illinois) have also reached out to the team.

For now, the team’s options are open.

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