The Chicago Bears to Arlington Heights move has been gaining plenty of steam lately. The latest move involved the Bears hiring an architect to provide some designs for a stadium. On Arlington Heights’ end, the village is looking at how they can help. Initially, Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes said taxpayers wouldn’t pay for the stadium directly. Even if a new stadium is built, there will need to be roadway and infrastructure improvements in the surrounding areas. That undertaking is more complex than building some parking for an NFL stadium.
Now, the Arlington Heights Mayor is flirting with some public help for the project. “People would love to see the Bears come, but they don’t want their property taxes to increase, and they don’t want traffic nightmares,” Hayes said. “We’re still in the process of evaluating what we might be able to do from a financial perspective…We want to make this happen, so we’ll have to see what their needs and our abilities are, and try to balance the two.”
Any tax proposal by Arlington Heights would need to go through public hearings. With the Bears pushing for the deal to close in 2023, the hearings need to happen by the end of 2022.
According to Hayes, the Bears have shifted a great deal of their organizational focus to the Arlington Heights site since hiring Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus. The Bears are focusing on which local infrastructure will be necessary to support the stadium. Considering all agencies and parties affected will be key to keeping everyone happy. But it seems the move is taking off.
“We are past the hypothetical stage,” Hayes added.
As the NFL trends toward more privately-owned modern stadiums, this news should excite Chicago Bears fans as the franchise is continuing its move into future. Having an interested municipality ready to take them in is a big bonus. Now, they just have to get the deal across the finish line.
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