Bears continue to push for public funding for new stadium along Lake Michigan

Bears lakefront stadium

A rendering of the inside of the Chicago Bears' proposed lakefront stadium. | Chicago Bears

Despite being ignored by the Illinois General Assembly during the recently completed legislative session, the Chicago Bears are not letting up on their quest to get public funding for a new stadium. 

The nearly $5 billion proposal to build a lakefront stadium complex along Lake Michigan calls for $2 billion in public money from the city of Chicago and the state. State lawmakers never took up the issue before adjourning the latest legislative session. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said Illinois needs to see more benefit for taxpayers before using public money. 

During a Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce event, Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren said now is the time to seize the moment. 

“We have a unique time here with the Chicago Bears to not only build a great football team, to build a great organization, but to build a world-class stadium,” said Warren. 

The team still owns more than 300 acres in Arlington Heights, but they remain publicly committed to a lakefront stadium project.  

Jack Lavin, president of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said a new stadium would be beneficial for the downtown area.

“The Chicago Bears are talking about putting $2.3 billion of private money into this, and what will that do, it will create economic opportunity,” Lavin told WGN

The proposal calls for the Bears to refinance and pay off existing debt from both the Soldier Field renovation and the White Sox stadium to make way for new borrowing.

Despite support from Mayor Brandon Johnson, Ald. Gil Villegas doesn’t expect the city to pitch in.

“When you have the Bulls, Sox that are worth billions of dollars, and then coming to the public for subsidies, it’s a hard sell,” Villegas told ABC7

The Bears still have a lease with the Chicago Park District for Soldier Field until 2033.

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