Like most Democratic Mayors, keeping revenue in Chicago is one of Lori Lightfoot’s main concerns. But now, she’s even offering bribes in an attempt to keep more of the revenue she has grown accustomed to. Too bad it won’t work…
If you haven’t heard, the Chicago Bears, a professional NFL team, are planning to vacate their home of over 50 years and the city it resides in.
Back in September of last year, the Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips announced that the team had recently “executed a Purchase and Sale Agreement for the Arlington Park property.” The property in question lies 30 miles west in Arlington Heights and has been an apparent dream of the Bears for years.
It especially became of interest to the team when it was discovered that the horse racing track located there would be shutting down by 2021. The recently vacated racetrack in which the Bears are interested consists of 326 acres in all.
Additionally, if the team is going to start a moving project, now is the time to do it, as their lease on Soldier Field ends in just ten years. It might seem like a long time to you and me. But as Phillips said, if the Bears are to buy and build on such a property, they will need at least that much time to complete such an endeavor.
As he said when he made the announcement, “Muck work remains to be completed, including working closely with the Village of Arlington Heights and surrounding communities, before we can close on this transaction,” let alone have construction completed.
So far, the transaction has included a $197.2 million bill for the deserted racetrack.
Now, to most humans with even half a brain, this would be more than a sign that the team is very serious about moving out of the downtown Chicago area.
However, Mayor Lori Lightfoot apparently thinks a bribe or two just might get them to stay in the region and keep providing her and her city with her much-needed income.
On Monday, her office proposed a total of three separate but similar upgrade plans to the Bears, costing between $900 million and a whopping $2.2 billion. Of course, they all require the team to stay at their lakefront home of Soldier Field.
According to the plans, one idea is to erect a dome over the current and historic outdoor stadium. The other two projects would be to build new domed facilities in its place, naturally making it bigger and able to hold some 70,000 people rather than the 61,500 the current structure can contain.
Of course, Lightfoot thinks this is the better option by far, as it will “deliver a world-class visitor experience” as well as save the team some $15 million in moving costs. Naturally, during her press release, she also mentioned how keeping the Bears in the city would allow it to “retain its role as an economic engine… for years to come.”
However, the Bears seem to have no interest in her plans. And they’ve said as much.
During a statement according to ESPN, the team will not be “pursuing” any plans to renovate, add on to, or expand Soldier Field. Nor are they looking to purchase any other stadiums or sites as they have already entered into a contract with their soon-to-be property.
And I, for one, don’t blame them at all for wanting to leave Chicago.
We’ve all heard about how bad the city has become in recent years. And Lori Lightfoot has only added to its derision. Crime has erupted even in Chicago’s higher-end and downtown shopping and entertainment areas, according to recent reports from CBS News. The Hill noted that crime is up some 36 percent overall in the city compared to just last year.
Perhaps that’s what Lightfoot should be spending her $2.2 billion on instead of trying to keep a team who is already on their way out of town.