Hours after Arlington Heights Democratic Senator Ann Gillespie introduced a bill in Springfield that would allow tax breaks for up to 40 years for major organizations like the Chicago Bears and the team’s possible move to Arlington Heights The village board heard again from residents on Monday skeptical of the team’s mega proposal and the impact it would have on their communities.
Debbie Fisher said in the public comment portion of the board meeting on Monday night, “We have to question the motives for this move and wonder if this has anything to do with money.” We should be able to vote on this issue because it directly affects our lives in so many ways.”
Mayor Tom Hayes, in response to similar earlier comments, told residents who had questioned the project that the plans were only at the most preliminary stage and that residents had not had ample opportunity to voice their opinions. I assure you there is.
“You will have [input]said Hayes. “Trust me, that’s how representative democracy works.”
In September 2021, the Bears signed a purchase agreement to purchase the now-closed 326-acre Arlington International Racecourse property. In September 2022, the NFL organization announced plans for a sprawling multi-billion dollar stadium complex and a mixed-use commercial and residential district on the grounds of a historic racetrack.
Fisher questioned the project’s motives and asked for an opportunity to consider the plan further.
Fisher told village councilors and leaders they were ‘expecting’ [taxpayers] The Chicago Bears should stay in Chicago where they belong. .”
[ [Don’t miss] Will the Chicago Bears leave Soldier Field for Arlington Heights? ]
Roberta Fisher echoed the idea of a “mini-Chicago”, saying it appeared the Bears were proposing to “build another village” near the stadium.
“I am very concerned that the public is not fully informed of what is really going to happen,” she said.
In response to these comments, Hayes said the only agreement the village has entered into with the Bears so far is a “pre-development agreement,” which will be greenlit in November and will be the road to a possible redevelopment of Arlington International Racecourse. I repeated that I would provide the map.
“The stadium is still out of contract,” Hayes said.
He later told the Pioneer Press that village officials “understand their concerns and they will be addressed. We cannot give them a blunt answer now.”
Big unknowns remain about the Bears’ potential moves. The team has yet to finalize the sale of the property, saying it intends to make a decision by the end of the first quarter of 2023. Even if the property purchase is complete, there is still no guarantee that the stadium will be built. Moreover.
However, policymakers and officials at various levels of government, from villages and school boards to the General Assembly, appear to be preparing the Bears team to move to the Northwest Suburbs.
On February 6th, the Pioneer Press reported that Arlington Heights police and fire officials made four visits to stadiums outside Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Dallas to see how first responders in those cities managed the gigantic entertainment complex. reported that they observed
The day the Village Board heard public comment on the Bears’ proposal, the Tribune reported on the submission of Springfield Senate Bill 1350. The bill would amend Illinois tax law to include special provisions for “megaprojects,” defined as major developments that are costly. At least $500 million, if the host municipality determines that it will demonstrate “substantial public benefit” if installed in a village or city.
The bill, currently being drafted, could freeze property taxes for up to 40 years on certain projects.
Developers who receive these tax breaks must pay the host city or village either in lieu of taxes or PILOT. According to the proposed law, the revenue will be allocated to regular tax bills, so local governments receiving the pilot are legally obligated to distribute these payments.
Hayes said he had spoken to Gillespie about the bill before it was filed and was surprised to hear it had been formally filed in Springfield.
“I didn’t know she would file the bill today,” he said. “I talked to her about it tonight.”
He said their conversation made him optimistic.
“She and I, and everyone involved in this, want to make sure it addresses everyone’s concerns.
One stakeholder is the local school district, which relies heavily on property taxes generated by the racetrack. Township High School District 214 began a meeting on the proposed legislation before it was submitted. The SD214 School Board considered hiring lobbyists on the advice of the Superintendent and District Attorney, who said, “Currently, (the Board) is watching from the outside,” as MPs hammer out the details of the bill. I’m here.
Arlington Heights village manager Randy Reclause said the village is “encouraging those involved in addressing this issue.” [bill] To listen to the school district. ”