Despite headlines this week about the Chicago Bears’ proposed Arlington Heights stadium project possibly being “at risk,” the NFL football team’s brass will come face to face with about 300 people later this month at a meeting meant to promote communication between local stakeholders and the team.
The Bears, operating as the Chicago Bears Football Club, has proposed a multi-billion dollar stadium development at the site of the former Arlington International Racecourse the team purchased in February.
“We will hear directly from Kevin Warren on his experience with stadium development and what it’s going to take to make Arlington Park the home of the Chicago Bears,” according to a meeting announcement.
The meeting, set for June 26 at the Metropolis Center for the Performing Arts, located in Arlington Heights, is an initiative of the newly formed Touchdown Arlington group, a private group that sees the arrival of the team as an economic opportunity for the village and the region. Organizers say Touchdown Arlington aims to create more dialogue between the team and Arlington Heights residents.
Registration opened Wednesday for the meeting, the same day the Bears met with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson to discuss a “shared commitment” to the city of Chicago. However, on Friday the team heard a pitch from Naperville mayor Scott Wehrli about a potential move out to that western suburb.
News of those meetings were the latest developments in a wave of uncertainty around whether the Bears will actually redevelop the racetrack after sparring with the Cook County Assessor’s office and local school districts about how much the team should pay in property taxes over the next few years.
The Bears’ purchase of Arlington International Racecourse and proposed $5 billion stadium development on the site has ignited discussion about everything from how the project would be funded to the team’s impact on local real estate values and the village’s beloved downtown district.
The Touchdown Arlington meeting will only be open to those who RSVP by June 25, according to Touchdown Arlington leaders. Arlington Heights residency is not required. Group organizer and local real estate agent Holly Connors told Pioneer Press about 300 tickets are available.
An agenda for the meeting is still in the works, she said.