Key vote on Bears’ Arlington Park relocation


Chicago Bears new stadium update November 2022 Image: Chicago Bears

A key vote took place recently on a proposal to build a new home for the National Football League (NFL) team Chicago Bears at the former site of Arlington Park in Illinois, US.

‘NBC Chicago’ stated that the Board of Trustees with the village of Arlington Heights approved a pre-development plan on the Bears’ possible relocation. As stressed by the Board and the Bears, the agreement isn’t binding, but an agreed upon framework and goals for the development of the site.

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, the stadium has served as the home of the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) since 1971, as well as Chicago Fire FC of Major League Soccer (MLS) from 1998 to 2005 and since 2020.

On July 8th this year, the Bears revealed that it’s either Arlington Park – where they plan to build their new home – or bust.

If the team does proceed with the purchase of the Arlington Park property, and if the Bears organization then chooses to proceed with the development of the property, the project will be one of the largest development projects in Illinois State history.

The Arlington International Racecourse (formerly Arlington Park, the name was Arlington Park Jockey Club from as soon as 1948 up to 1955) was a horse race track in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, Illinois, US.

‘NBC Chicago’ quoted Cliff Stein, Senior Vice-President and General Counsel of the Chicago Bears, as stating, “This is not a binding obligation or either part, that it is a good faith agreement to work together to cooperate towards the exploration of the redevelopment of this property.”

The framework serves as the first public acknowledgment that the Bears may ask for public money to construct a new stadium and mixed-use development.

The Bears drafted a nearly $200 million purchase agreement for the former Arlington Heights racecourse in September 2021. Since then, there has been speculation about the possibility of public money being used to build the new stadium, and the impact the project will have on traffic and local school districts.

Despite the Board’s unanimous decision, members of the public remained concerned about the Bears possible move to the suburbs.

One member of the public said, “I feel I’ve been publicly misled. Non-transparent decisions made, and the feeling of being strung along by the Board of Trustees in a way.”

Randall Recklaus, Arlington Heights Village Manager, said the village is committed to “Taking all of the time and collecting all of the information necessary to ensure that any deal is in the best interest of our residents. And we want to make sure that this project, if completed, is held up as one of the best major developments in the history of the State, not just one of the largest.”

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