Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday addressed rumors the Chicago Bears could be exploring a move to Arlington Heights.
Chicago officials have been in discussion with Bears management about issues at Soldier Field, the team’s current home, Lightfoot said.
Crain’s Chicago Business brought up the prospect of the Bears’ interest in the site of Arlington Park, which is for sale, saying in a story Wednesday that a team spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the rumor.
Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes told the Daily Herald he considers everything to be on the table for the high-profile site of the iconic racetrack, including a Chicago Bears stadium or the prospect that live horse racing is preserved in some form. “They’re both on the table for me,” said Hayes, who has been involved in ongoing discussions with track owner Churchill Downs Inc. and real estate broker CBRE, which listed the track for sale in February.
In a news conference, Lightfoot responded to a question by saying she’d seen the reports about Arlington Park but that the Bears have a lease with Soldier Field until 2033, and “the NFL doesn’t let any teams break their leases.”
Lightfoot said she was on a call in the last two weeks about changes the Bears would like at Soldier Field and the city wants to work with the organization.
“I think it’s incumbent upon us as a city to step up and look at ways in which we can make sure that Bears fans, but also the Bears as an organization, have the best opportunities to maximize the fan experience and of course, maximize revenues. So we’re going to keep those conversations going,” Lightfoot said.