Bears to host meeting about plans for new stadium


The Chicago Bears organization announced its plans to host a meeting about the "potential purchase and possible development of Arlington Park." The meeting will take place at John Hersey High School on Thursday, Sept. 8. 

"The meeting will include opening remarks from team leadership and conceptual plans for a transit-oriented mixed-use entertainment district anchored by a stadium that would be one of the largest development projects in Illinois state history," the announcement stated.

The Bears purchased the rights to buy the land at Arlington Park back in September of 2021. The team is expected to close on the land in late 2022 or early 2023. 

“There’s nothing else like it in Chicagoland,” President Ted Phillips said back in January of this year. “So the opportunities — you know, we haven’t even begun to envision what it could be. But we’re hopeful, if we close, that we’ll be moving forward with turning it into a wonderful destination site.

“Again, the timing of it we don’t know because we haven’t even closed on the land. [If] we don’t close on the land, then all that vision won’t come to fruition. But we’re excited it could be an entertainment destination with multiple facets to it that I think could really help put Arlington Heights on the map as a destination spot.”

Since the Bears' announcement of purchasing the rights to the land, the city of Chicago has backlashed its plans to leave Soldier Field. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has remained adamant the Bears should not leave downtown Chicago. 

In July, Lightfoot and the Chicago Park District unveiled a three-avenue plan for renovating Soldier Field in an attempt to persuade the Bears to stay. Lightfoot said the Bears would be "foolish" not to consider the plan. 

The plan consisted of constructing a dome over the stadium to create an all-purpose venue for year-round usage. As an alternative, the city would renovate the stadium to accommodate the Chicago Fire, the other mainstay tenant of the field. 

The Bears have consistently denied the city's attempts to keep them in the city of Chicago. 

In a statement from the team reported by the Daily Herald in late July, "The only potential project the Chicago Bears are exploring for a new stadium development is Arlington Park. 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 village of Arlington Heights has also pushed back the idea of giving any financial incentive to the Bears moving to its town. A group called Americans for Prosperity started a petition to cut off the spending towards new businesses in Arlington Heights, including the Bears stadium plans.

The issues, disputes and plans for the stadium will all likely be addressed in the meeting. This is the first major discussion from the Bears about the stadium and their early plans on the stadium. 

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