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Bears won’t pursue stadium legislation this fall: reports – NBC Chicago

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

According to statements obtained through multiple media outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, the Bears said they will not pass stadium-specific legislation during the Illinois General Assembly’s upcoming fall veto session.

“At this time, we wish to appropriately explore all opportunities for the development of a world-class stadium and, therefore, we will not seek legislative support for mega-project incentive legislation during the session fall veto vote by the Illinois General Assembly,” Speaker Kevin Warren said in a statement. statement.

According to the Bears, they recently engaged in discussions with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson about remaining in the city, but they also continue to talk with Arlington Heights and other Chicago suburbs about the viability of a stadium project.

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

The Bears’ stadium creation process kicked into high gear when they completed the purchase of the site of the former Arlington International Race Course in Arlington Heights in February. This purchase cost $197 million and demolition work continues on the site.

The Bears had proposed building a state-of-the-art domed stadium on the site, along with a wide variety of performance spaces, shopping and more.

Although the team has not sought public funding for the stadium itself, it has expressed interest in grants for some of the ancillary projects around the site.

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

An assessment at that price would have caused the property tax bill on the site to skyrocket, and the Bears responded on several fronts, including seeking legislation in Springfield to freeze the property’s assessed value.

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

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

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

NBC Chicago

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