Backlash against Soldier Field renovation plans
The three ideas to renovate Soldier Field and redevelop the Museum Campus have captured the city's attention.
Why it matters: The plans, released by Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday, were created to keep the Bears and the millions in game-day revenues they generate downtown.
- But even though the city's plans are grand, concerns remain about aspects of the project and its financing.
What they're saying: "The mayor took the Bears for granted and waited too long," mayoral candidate Willie Wilson tells Axios.
- "Now she wants to give away the whole kitchen sink."
Other issues facing the redevelopment include:
💰 Naming rights: The city floated naming rights as a way to offset the hefty price tag, but former Governor Pat Quinn is circulating petitions for a ballot measure that would preemptively keep the city from renaming Soldier Field, which was named as a war memorial.
- If successful, the city would have to turn to other revenue sources, like tax dollars.
🌊 Lakefront parkland: As we saw with the Lucas Museum, nothing new is built on the lakefront without a fight. Friends of the Parks says it was not consulted on the redevelopment plans and told WTTW it is "studying legal options."
- A drawn-out legal fight could scare the Bears away.
- One Central wants the state to pay for a new train station. A redeveloped Museum Campus may help convince it to do so.
What's next: The Bears are on the clock, but they remain under lease at Soldier Field through 2033.
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