Wednesday, May 22, 2024

An Unexpected Wrinkle Has Appeared In Chicago Bears Stadium Push


One thing that is inevitable when politics are involved is that everybody will seek to get their own slice of the pie. The Chicago Bears made their intentions clear when they unveiled plans for a new lakefront dome complex south of Soldier Field. It would completely revamp the surrounding property into a premium year-round tourist destination. As always, the price tag is an issue. Projects have it cost around $5 billion to complete. While the Bears and NFL have pledged to handle around 72% of it, they still need help from the state to cover the rest.

Governor J.B. Pritzker has vowed he will pledge zero public money to such a project unless the Bears can prove it is to the genuine benefit of taxpayers. While the two sides begin their bureaucratic battle to find a deal, others are using it as an opportunity to try getting some of that money as well. It’s known the Chicago White Sox are also seeking a new stadium, finally tired of Guaranteed Rate Field. They aren’t alone. According to the Chicago Tribune, another sports body is angling for new accommodations.

As the Chicago Bears’ proposed lakefront stadium plans remain in Springfield purgatory, some Democratic lawmakers are using the opportunity to begin discussions about public funding for women’s professional sports facilities should the Bears’ plans see movement in the legislature.

An unorthodox proposal filed earlier this month, which faces long odds of passage before lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn the spring session on Friday, calls for the state to set aside an unspecified amount of funding for a women’s sports stadium if Illinois helps finance a new home for the Bears, the Chicago White Sox or any other men’s pro team.

While the legislation is ambiguous in parts and likely to change if it comes up for a legislative vote, it strikes on the issue of equity, politically popular among Democrats, that many Illinois elected officials have raised in recent months as the Bears and White Sox have come to the statehouse with their hands out.

The Chicago Bears have a lot of mud to slog through.

It is hard enough to pry money from Illinois lawmakers alone. Two other organizations trying to do the same thing only make their job harder. Team president Kevin Warren is known for being a shrewd negotiator, which was a big reason the Bears hired him. He managed to lure USC and UCLA to the Big Ten in college and worked out lucrative TV deals. He also was a key component in helping the Minnesota Vikings build U.S. Bank Stadium a few years ago. Warren is a professional in situations like this.

Still, it is a safe bet this will be the most difficult endeavor he’s encountered in a long football career. Illinois and Chicago politicians are renowned for being difficult and self-serving at the best of times. In others, they are outright crooked. The Chicago Bears have to be prepared for a dogfight at every turn if they’re committed to seeing this process to the end. Otherwise, it might be best to turn their attention back to Arlington Heights, which many believe will still end up being their final result.

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May 22, 2024 1:36 pm

If you think it can help pay the bills, Transgender it is. People used to say men couldn’t fly. That you couldn’t go faster than a horse. That electric cars were idiocy. That the moon was just swiss cheese (but the Swiss never were stupid enough to say that).
People used to say that computers shouldn’t have apples stuck to them, and that Amazon sold books. that Victoria’s Secret was a little store in SF.
I always thought I should look at it carefully before saying it was stupid. But that’s just me. It’s a free world.

May 22, 2024 1:31 pm

@i dug plank Arlington Park might be a “nice place to live,” but I presume you WANT it to STAY a nice place to live. It might be nice for you to go next door to see your neighbors, the Bears, but when people start flocking in, unless AP has a plan for it, they’ll be pissing on your lawn, throwing up in your bushes, fighting down on the corner and looking for a place to go after the game. I’ve lived on the same streets as all kinds of “entertainment” centers. I don’t mind it, and I understand what… Read more »

Dr. Steven Sallie
Dr. Steven Sallie
May 22, 2024 12:41 pm

How about facilities for declared transgenders too?

I dug Plank
I dug Plank
May 22, 2024 12:17 pm

Great idea, build a stadium for Women’s professional sports teams, that can’t beat a Boy’s HS team in the same sport, in the name of equity. I love these greedy and mindless politicians. There’s a softball stadium in Rosemont and a Soccer Stadium in Bridgeview. The Chicago Pols are gonna chase the Bears off to NW Indiana if Arlington Heights doesn’t work. come visit us in Arlington Heights, not quite “Affordable” these days, but it is a nice place to live

May 22, 2024 11:31 am

I wrote the comment below before reading previous comments. Arlington Park, like all suburban communities was developed to be a residential oasis for people wanting more space and affordable living. As such, it ONLY offers the benefit of space, at an “affordable” price. Chicago, like all urban areas developed over the past two centuries was built by private companies and citizens simply building a house (or business) next to another existing one. Chicago’s lakefront beauty is world renown simply because of PLANNING! Chicago and Paris are planned (in their centers) less-so as you get further from the center simply because… Read more »

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