Chicago Bears’ Ownership Has Northern Illinois Stadium Options

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At least six municipalities want the team.

The owners of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears, the McCaskeys, seem to be on a tour of northern Illinois with the purpose of finding some city, town or village that is willing to give them some form of tax incentives or tax breaks and maybe some money so that Bears ownership can build a stadium village. Politicians in Arlington Heights, Aurora, Chicago, Naperville, Richton Park and Waukegan want a chance at building the Bears’ planned stadium-village complex. The McCaskey family purchased a 326-acre piece of property in Arlington Heights that could house a stadium-village. At one point, about two months ago, the McCaskeys were dedicated to the Arlington Heights site and planned to move the team to the Chicago suburb but then the McCaskeys received the tax bill on the property and they didn’t like what they saw. The property tax was higher than anticipated and that caused the McCaskeys to do a double take.

Chicago wants a chance at keeping the team. The McCaskey family is contractually obligated to use Soldier Field for Bears’ home games until 2033 but the lease can be terminated early if the McCaskey’s pay a lease breaking penalty. Richton Park mayor Rick Reinbold wrote a letter to Bears’ ownership wanting them to check out his municipality.  “I understand how the complexity of completing a stadium deal at the former Arlington Park site can be frustrating. Allow me to interest you in the greenfield opportunities awaiting the Bears in Richton Park!” Richton Park is about 32  miles south of Chicago’s downtown. The distance doesn’t matter, what Bears ownership wants is land and financial incentives and the Bears ownership may have gained some leverage in the stadium game. There are at least six municipalities that want a chance at landing the NFL team. The Bears stadium game continues.

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries the balls as Chicago Bears cornerback Teez Tabor comes up for the tackle during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Evan can be reached at evan_weiner@hotmail.com