It’s becoming a messy breakup between Chicago’s football team and its city.
The Chicago Bears are committed to moving out to Arlington Heights to build a new stadium that will surely provide lucrative opportunities for the organization.
Yet, the city of Chicago is determined to keep them at historic Soldier Field near downtown Chicago.
The city’s mayoral committee released a rough outline of renovations they want to make to the field and the museum campus surrounding it, including a dome for the field.
But, the Bears won’t bite.
In a statement from the team reported by the Daily Herald, “The only potential project the Chicago Bears are exploring for a new stadium development is Arlington Park,” according to a statement from a team spokesman via the article. “As part of our mutual agreement with the seller of that property, we are not pursuing alternative stadium deals or sites, including renovations to Soldier Field, while we are under contract.”
The city and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have made valiant efforts to keep the Bears in Chicago. Starting in February, Lightfoot assembled a team to propose a draft of enhancements to the stadium, which resulted in a 51-page ‘Where Worlds Connect’ document, containing 35 recommendations to fix the lakefront area.
However, it’s certainly not in the cards. Many of the propositions would violate ordinances created by the park district, disrupt veteran groups who’ve responded to changing the name of the stadium and cost taxpayers millions if not near a billion dollars.
While the land in Arlington Heights is not yet closed on (should be late 2022 or early 2023), the Bears put the matter to rest with their reiteration of their intention to leave.
There’s still plenty to unpack as deals close, ground breaks and the Bears inch nearer to Arlington Heights. Until then, it’ll be interesting to see if the city of Chicago doubles back on their attempts to keep the Bears home.
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