House committee to hear legislation in support of Chicago Bears' plans to move to Arlington Heights

Legislation includes $3 admission tax to help pay off debt from renovating Soldier Field 2 decades ago

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Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Hearing scheduled over Bears' plans to move to northern suburb
A House committee will hear legislation in support of the Chicago Bears' plans to move to the Arlington Park race track.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There's a public hearing set for Tuesday over the Chicago Bears' plan to relocate to Arlington Heights.

A House committee will hear revised legislation in support of the team's move. It includes a $3 admission tax to help pay off debt from renovating Soldier Field two decades ago.

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Even though racing season is well underway, the race track at Arlington Park remained quiet this spring, awaiting a new sport from the new owners. The Bears are apparently still working on the details with community leaders and lawmakers.

"As the Bears work out details, one of the chief concerns for all sides is how the property will be taxed so that the communities will be able build infrastructure needed to support an NFL team," said Jon Ridler with the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce. "The latest proposal, lawmakers will unveil in a hearing in Springfield tomorrow, would freeze the current property tax assessment on the property. It would establish a $3 admission tax on tickets, which would be used to pay off the city's debt for renovations to Soldier Field 20 years ago. It would also determine how the communities would divide revenue from sales, hotel, liquor taxes."

Several members of the Arlington Heights business community have formed a group called Touchdown Arlington.

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The group met with the Bears team president, Kevin Warren, on Monday.

"This is a monumental project. We have an obligation to do what's right," said Ernie Rose.

In addition to a new stadium, the Bears' plans call for extensive commercial and residential development, including hotels, restaurants and bars, along with housing. That will have a big impact on the surrounding communities.

READ MORE | How Chicago Bears could score public funding for possible move to Arlington Heights

"Only one-third of the property will be the football stadium. The other two-thirds is just as important to residents as the stadium," Ridler said.

That's why most everyone involved agrees there is still a lot of work to do.