In response to news media reports that the Chicago Bears are exploring other potential sites outside of Arlington Heights for a new stadium due to stalled talks with school districts, Arlington Heights state lawmakers and other local officials, Touchdown Arlington has released the following statement:
“It’s incredibly concerning to learn that political foot dragging has resulted in the Chicago Bears entertaining an alternate stadium site in Naperville, and we are told this is not the only community trying to recruit them. Our local elected officials, from legislators to school board members, must prioritize this development that will boost the region’s economic engine and create thousands of jobs. Losing this opportunity due to politics will be a devastating and unforgiveable loss for our community, and we urge local officials to swiftly reignite negotiations to make this development a reality. Every local and state elected official and business and civic leader should get in the huddle with the Bears.”
Coalition members point out the Bears offered to pay school districts $4.3 million–$1.5 million more in tax payments than the $2.8 million paid by previous racetrack landowner Churchill Downs. The Bears made this offer even though the massive parcel will produce no revenue during the development and construction period over the next few years.
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s office has assessed the property at $197 million, five times the previous assessment, which would raise the Bears’ annual property tax bill to $16 million. A lawyer for the local school districts has declined to further negotiate with the team.
Touchdown Arlington is a grassroots coalition of local community leaders and business owners advocating to make Arlington Heights the permanent home of the Chicago Bears. The coalition is dedicated to making this once-in-a-lifetime proposal a reality and boosting the region’s economic engine, creating thousands of jobs and generating millions of dollars in future tax revenues for Arlington Heights and the region.
“The potential Chicago Bears’ development in Arlington Heights will strengthen the fabric of Arlington Heights and the Northwest suburbs. We need everyone to get off the stands and get on the field by joining our effort to bring the Chicago Bears HOME to Arlington Heights!”