ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — The next step in building a new home for the Chicago Bears involved tearing down another sports venue, which began on Tuesday.
Phase 1 of the demolition of the Arlington Park racecourse is getting underway on the site as the NFL team begins the task of clearing the land in which they’d like to build a new domed stadium along with a commercial and residential district.
Trucks were spotted on the property on Tuesday morning as the work gets ready to begin, but there is no timeline on when it may be completed.
All of the work at the moment is in the interior of the main grandstand, office and jockey buildings, which was approved by the Village of Arlington Heights last week. When the Bears start to tear down the exterior of the building, they will need the approval of the village and Cook County.
Per Arlington Heights, traffic around the Arlington Park site will increase as the demolition begins, but the Metra train stop & parking will remain open during this phase. Around 20-to-30 trucks per day will be taking materials from the demolition to sites in West Chicago and Rolling Meadows.
A map of the entry points for demolition trucks for Phase 1 can be found here.
The Bears closed on the Arlington Park property in February for $197.2 million after the team put in a purchase agreement in September 2021. Calling Chicago home since they moved from Decatur in 1921, this marks the Bears’ most significant move toward a move out of the city in franchise history.
So far there is only one piece of legislation on the possible funding and building of a new stadium at Arlington Park – House Bill 610. Proposed by Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines), it includes a property tax freeze on the property along with a $3 “ticket tax” to help pay the remaining debt for the 2002-2003 Soldier Field renovation.
Rep. Moylan didn’t present it to the legislature in this session, choosing to gather more support this summer.