Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Sun-Times: The city could still make a play to keep the Bears

Former South Works site

Did someone read my thoughts on the Bears' stadium issue? The one where I propose the Bears come down to the former U.S. Steel South Works site that is waiting for further development? Well I'm not naieve enough to think that I'm the first to come up with, however, I didn't even see this being discussed.

Anyway from a recent Sun-Times editorial:

We could imagine, for instance, a Bears stadium on land owned by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority at 35th Street and Shields Avenue, just north of the White Sox’s ballpark. Part of that deal could include the proper redevelopment of the 70 acres of surface parking — also owned by the ISFA — that surround the ballpark.

Or, if the Bears would prefer another lakefront stadium, the city could offer a piece of the 500-acre former U.S. Steel South Works site. To do that, City Hall would have to bring the land’s owner, U.S. Steel, to the table. But the steelmaker might be wise to listen, given that two decades of redevelopment plans for the land have fluttered and died like Jack Concannon’s forward passes.

At the U.S. Steel site, the Bears would enjoy a nearly blank slate to build on and the result, if done right, could greatly benefit the working-class South Chicago neighborhood.

“So I just ask you, with all the priorities you have of lifting up communities, which is where the priority has to be, let’s not give up on trying to find a place to keep these guys in Chicago,” [Ward 48 Ald. Harry] Osterman said to Cox.

The planning department did not respond to Osterman’s suggestions, other than reissuing a statement from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office. “The mayor,” the statement said, “has said numerous times, our door in City Hall remains open to engage the Bears.”

Ald. Osterman wasn't suggesting any sites for the Bears to consider within the city, but he does want the city to work further on keeping the Bears from going to Arlington Heights, Illinois. I'm glad to see that someone at the Sun-Times sees the former South Works site as a potentially viable option for whatever the Bears want to do around a new NFL stadium.

Time will tell as far as whether or not the Bears will pull a trigger on moving from Soldier Field. Who knows what effort the Mayor of Chicago would make or even if she would be successful in keeping one of the historic NFL franchises from leaving Chicago. 

BTW, I hardly pay attention to the NFL anymore but I wish I had seen their routing of the Las Vegas Raiders.

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