The mayor’s so-called Museum Campus Working Group appears to have a weird dual focus. The stated intent is to “reimagine the Museum Campus experience targeting year-round tourism and activation on the campus,” but the elephant in the room is the pending exit of the Chicago Bears and whether that, along with the associated political damage to the current administration, can still be stopped.
So is this august group, which is recommending, among other things, that the city explore sticking a roof on Soldier Field, looking at life after the Bears, which have acquired land in suburban Arlington Heights? Or is it looking at ways to retain the team by offering its ownership new and shiny things, such as a dome?
It looks to us like the Bears are outta there. But there’s no downside to Lori Lightfoot and her crew making a Hail Mary to keep the team within city limits, as long as they don’t use the taxpayers’ money as part of their less-than-dignified seduction.
The task force’s report implies that the dome could potentially be funded by corporate sponsors. Maybe.
Of course, the desirability of a roof atop a historical open-air stadium, named to honor veterans, is very much open to debate. Some will argue the prior and ugly renovation already messed up the place so much that a post facto lid wouldn’t make much difference now; others will see the proposal as a further blemish on the city’s classic lakefront elegance that must be stopped.
Our immediate view is to restore what we have said many times: The Bears are perfectly capable of funding their own place to play. Their retention in Chicago, should that still be possible, do not merit giving away public funds. They’ll still be the Chicago Bears in Arlington Heights. We’ll survive their exit.
Time to move on and, as the charge says, “reimagine.”
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