Lightfoot Announces Committee to Reinvent Museum Campus – With or Without Bears – NBC Chicago

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the formation of a committee to review plans to reinvent the city’s museum campus — with or without the Chicago Bears occupying part of the lakefront.

The city’s work in development planning has been on the table for some time, but with the Bears reaching a deal to potentially purchase Arlington International Racetrack, with the plan to explore the feasibility of building a stadium on the property, the urgency increases. to determine the future of the area around Soldier Field, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium.

As plans are made for how Chicago will go about revitalizing the lakeside site, the mayor says she’s leaning on nearly two dozen business and civic leaders for ideas.

“We just need to look at the museum campus and look at Soldier Field and maximize the asset that it is and try to bring new events to the area,” said chamber president Jack Lavin. of Chicagoland Commerce. “Maybe even put a dome over the stadium.”

The elephant in the room wonders whether the bears will stay or not, which Juanita Irizarry, who runs the organization Friends of the Parks, says unlikely, and says the city should be careful what it offers to the public. team to encourage them to stay.

“Studies show that when cities give, give and give to sports teams, they often lose,” she said. “The city often loses in terms of the subsidy borne by taxpayers.”

Irizarry and the group join the working committee and undertake to transform portions of the campus into additional green spaces.

Trying to implement these goals, along with a proposed casino and any potential changes to Soldier Field, is a tricky balancing act, one the band members are looking to tackle while talks about the future of the bears are on the brink. of the lake are assessed.

The Bears currently have a lease on the stadium until 2033, but they could leave if they pay a hefty fee to the city of Chicago.

Meanwhile, negotiations with Arlington Heights continue for ownership of the racetrack, with a deal that could be reached by the end of the year, according to the team.

The working committee that will explore the future of the Museum Campus site plans to meet later this winter to begin work, officials say.

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