The City of Chicago announced in a press release that the Chicago Bears have rejected Mayor Lightfoot’s billion-dollar offer to improve their home stadium and are determined to relocate to a calmer, less crime-ridden area. According to the release, an incentive was offered by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, with a value of up to $2.2 billion in renovations to the Soldier Field stadium in hopes of convincing the Bears to stay in the city.
The upgrades included adding additional seating to accommodate an extra 8,500 fans, installing structures in both end zones that support an enclosed domed roof over the stadium, and quadrupling the venue’s food and beverage square footage.
The team said in a statement that the Bears dismissed Lightfoot’s upgrades to Soldier Field and made it clear that the only location for their new home turf would be in the city’s calmer suburbs. According to ESPN, the Bears said in a statement: “As part of our mutual agreement with the seller of that property, we are not pursuing alternative stadium deals or sites, including renovations to Soldier Field.”
In September 2021, according to a statement on the team’s website, the Bears purchased a $197.2 million, a 326-acre property in Arlington Park from Churchill Downs Inc. The new stadium is 30 miles northwest of Soldier Field.
A major loss for the city this fall the Bear’s exodus from Chicago could prove to be, as, according to Forbes, the team is the seventh most valuable franchise in the league, and the Soldier Field stadium rakes in $166 million dollars in revenue for the city of Chicago.
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The Bears are not the only asset to ditch Chicago due to the current state of the city, as hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents and businesses have left Chicago for the same reasons. According to an Illinois policy report, Illinois’ population declined by 113,776 from July 1, 2020, through July 1, 2021. Although people are fleeing Illinois from all around the state, the City of Chicago lost a total of 45,175 residents from July 2020-July 2021, the third-highest of any city in America.
An investment firm that had been located in Chicago for over 30 years, Citadel, recently announced it would be relocating to Florida. Also, according to NBC Chicago, a multinational aerospace company, Boeing, announced it would move its headquarters out of the city and into Arlington, Virginia, in May. The overwhelming emigration out of Chicago comes amidst the city’s surge in violent crime and pro-criminal policies.
According to the Chicago Police Department, crime across the city is up 35%. Earlier this Summer, the city also implemented a new policy that prohibits police officers from pursuing potential misdemeanor suspects on foot.