Bears release initial Arlington Park redevelopment plans; vow no tax dollars for stadium structure

An artist's rendering shows the proposed Chicago Bears redevelopment of the Arlington Park property viewed from the southwest

The Chicago Bears Tuesday released conceptual plans for their proposed redevelopment of the 326-acre Arlington Park property, and an open letter vowing not to ask for tax dollars to build the stadium portion of the project.

The renderings show a stadium district on the northwest portion of the property and a mixed-use district to the southeast. A Bears spokesman said the stadium simply is a placeholder and not an actual design.

Revelation of the initial drawings comes two days before a scheduled community meeting in Arlington Heights where team leadership will discuss the plans.

The public meeting is set for 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday in the John Hersey High School gymnasium, 1900 E. Thomas St. The school’s parking lot will open at 5 p.m. and doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is first come, first served until capacity is reached.

Along with the conceptual renderings, the NFL franchise released a letter about its tentative $197.2 million deal to buy the site from owner Churchill Downs. In it, the team says it won’t seek public funding for the direct stadium structure construction, but left open the door to seeking governmental assistance for the rest of the massive redevelopment.

" ... given the broad, long-term public benefits of this project, we look forward to partnering with the various governmental bodies to secure additional funding and assistance needed to support the feasibility of the remainder of the development,” according to the letter.