Chicago Bears' plan for Arlington Park 'not a done deal,' Arlington Heights Village President says

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Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Arlington Heights Village President says Chicago Bears' plan for Arlington Park 'not a done deal'
Arlington Heights Village President Thomas Hayes says Chicago Bears' plan for NFL games at Arlington Park is 'not a done deal.'

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) -- Arlington Heights Village President Thomas Hayes told the board at Monday night's meeting he has not received any details about the Chicago Bears' possible plans for Arlington Park, adding it would likely be one or two years before work begins on building a new stadium.

Not much has changed one week after the big news broke that the Bears have signed a purchase agreement for the Arlington Park property. The race track is still standing and there are no bulldozers on the grounds. There is still a long road to go before there could be professional football in Arlington Heights.

"Obviously this is not a done deal," Hayes said. "It's a long process."

SEE ALSO | New Chicago Bears stadium in Arlington Heights won't be paid for by IL taxpayers, Gov. Pritzker says

Still, some residents are urging caution when it comes to luring the team to Arlington Heights. One resident, Tom Loch, told the board Monday night the village should be careful about offering the Bears financial incentives to move to Arlington Heights.

"I think if they want to move here fine, but do it on their own and not rely on the residents," Hayes said.

A number of other new stadiums in recent years have been built with the help of government subsidies, including AT&T stadium in Arlington, Texas, which increased some taxes to pay for it.

"Who gets lost in this is the residents, who don't have a business in town," said Keith Moens, another Arlington Heights resident.

SEE ALSO | Bears new stadium? Chicago NFL team confirms deal to buy Arlington Heights property

Several residents have also expressed concerns about traffic. Arlington Park has previously been a big draw, but crowds for Bears games and other stadium events could draw five or six times more people on a regular basis. Hayes, however, is promising vigilance.

"We're not gonna give away the store," Hayes said. "We're gonna make sure we take care of our residents and maintain the great reputation of our village."