Arlington Heights, Chicago and Naperville are in the mix for new or renovated Bears stadium.
The most important part of the stadium game for sports owners is leverage as in having more than one area wanting a sports owner’s business, a major league team or in some cases a minor league team. The owners of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears franchise, the McCaskey family, now have two suitors, elected officials from Chicago and Naperville, Illinois, that want the team. The McCaskey family purchased a 326-acre piece of property in Arlington Heights, Illinois that could house a stadium-village. At one point recently, less than a month ago, the McCaskey’s were dedicated to the Arlington Heights site and planned to move the team to the Chicago suburb but the McCaskeys received the property 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. The McCaskeys decided to seek greener pastures including Chicago, the team’s present home.
According to a statement from the city of Naperville, “Mayor Scott Wehrli reached out to the Chicago Bears organization to introduce Naperville as a thriving community with multiple opportunities for business investment.” Wehrli sent a letter to the Bears president Kevin Warren that included. “We have several available or to-be-available sites that may fit the characteristics you are looking for in your future home.” Wehrli and Warren then met face-to-face. Naperville is Illinois’ fourth largest city and is located about 30 miles west of Chicago. Then the new mayor of Chicago jumped into the fray. Mayor Brandon Johnson thinks the McCaskeys could remain at Soldier Field. Johnson said. “I want to make sure the ownership of the Chicago Bears, the Park District and the residents of the city of Chicago have a real seat at the table to discuss a pathway forward.” The McCaskeys family is playing the stadium game.
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