Some Residents Say A Bears Move To Arlington Heights Would Benefit Community, Others Say It Would Bring Unwelcome Traffic And Crowds
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (CBS) -- The Chicago Bears announced Thursday that they have placed a bid to buy Arlington International Racecourse.
The Bears have flirted with the idea of moving the team out of Chicago before, and the Arlington Heights location has been rumored before. But this latest move, by far, has been the biggest step the Bears have taken toward the idea.
CBS 2's Charlie De Mar went to Arlington Heights Thursday to see how the idea sat with residents there.
Soldier Field has been home to the Chicago Bears since 1971 – they shared Wrigley Field with the Cubs before that. Soldier Field – which has stood since 1924 – is also dripping with a tradition, standing proudly just south of the Museum Campus.
But with the Bears now having placed a bid for the property where the Arlington International Racecourse now sits, the possibility of a move from Soldier Field to the northwest suburbs is on residents' minds.
"Go Bears. I'm a big fan. I met Gayle Sayers, Walter Payton. So I love the Bears," said Marc Adelman, who lives near the racetrack. "But I love them in Chicago, not in Arlington Heights."
In other words, Adelman does not want the stadium in his village.
"Don't bring the stadium here," he said. "I'll be at village hall if that's what they decide to do."
Adelman's view is clear. He lives just blocks from the raceway.
But his neighbor, Ed Hauth, sees it differently.
Hauth: "I think it's good for the community. I think it would be great for Arlington."
De Mar: "Fair to say you're in favor of the Bears coming here?"
Hauth: "Yeah, I'm a big Bears fan."
With just over 61,000 seats, Soldier Field is the NFL's smallest stadium - and the Bears lease it from the city until 2033. A new suburban stadium with a roof could big bring events like the Super Bowl, and year-round entertainment.
The racetrack location already sits at a Metra stop. But for fans driving the 30 or so miles to games from Chicago, expect at least an hour.
"With the traffic that will be coming here, where people are coming from – what's it going to do to the neighborhood – the late nights?" said Jessica Hauth. "People get drunk and stupid."
Adelman said he worries about "more traffic; changes to the neighborhood, as I mentioned; my front lawn becoming a toilet."
And at the Arlington Alfresco outdoor dining experience in downtown Arlington Heights, the Bears were the talk of the table,
"I think that if they plan properly and just put in the right infrastructure to handle it, I think it'll work out great," said Dan Vasquez.
But Jessica Hauth said: "They're the Chicago bears, not the Arlington heights Bears - Chicago. Keep them there."
Multiple bids have been submitted for the property. Meanwhile, Mayor Lori Lightfoot believes he has called the Bears' bluff - saying this bid is nothing more than a negotiating strategy.
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