Soldier Field

Bears won't pursue stadium legislation this fall: reports

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The Chicago Bears are still engaged in discussions over whether they’ll leave the city in pursuit of a new stadium, but it appears that process will not include legislation in Springfield, at least for this fall.

According to statements obtained via multiple outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, the Bears have said they will not pursue stadium-specific legislation during the upcoming fall veto session of the Illinois General Assembly.

“At this time, we want to appropriately explore all opportunities for the development of a world-class stadium and therefore will not be pursuing legislative support for mega projective incentive legislation in the Illinois General Assembly’s fall veto session,” President Kevin Warren said in a statement.

According to the Bears, they have engaged in recent discussions with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson about potentially staying within the city, but they also continue to engage with Arlington Heights and other Chicago suburbs about the viability of a stadium project.

Naperville has been one of the communities floated as a potential option for the Bears.

The Bears’ stadium process was kicked into high gear when they closed on the purchase of the site of the former Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights in February. That purchase came with a price tag of $197 million, and demolition work remains ongoing at the site.

The Bears had proposed to build a state-of-the-art domed stadium at the site, along with a wide variety of performance spaces, shops and more.

While the team has not pursued public financing for the stadium itself, they have indicated an interest in pursuing subsidies for some of the ancillary projects around the site.

The political process has included an effort to curb the property tax bill assessed on the site. That came to the forefront when Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s office assessed the property at $197 million, mirroring the purchase price.

An assessment at that price would have caused the property tax bill at the site to skyrocket, and the Bears have pushed back on multiple fronts, including seeking out legislation in Springfield to freeze the assessed value of the property.

That bill, sponsored by Rep. Martin Moylan during the spring legislative session, was never put up for a vote, and remains in limbo.

The legislation also would have included a $3-per-ticket surcharge to help retire bond debt incurred from the 2002 renovation project at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

An exact timeline for the completion of any of the proposed projects remains unknown at this time.

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