Bears stadium, redo of Arington Park, is town’s priority

Bears stadium, redo of Arington Park, is town’s priority

Working with the Chicago Bears Football Club in creating a “one-of-a-kind redevelopment plan for the former Arlington Racetrack” is the No. 1 strategic priority of the Arlington Heights Village Board.

Trustees identified nine strategic priorities for the village over the next two years during a goal-setting session late last month. That was used by village staff to help create the 2024-2025 strategic priority list that was presented for approval at the Sept. 5 Village Board meeting.

Trustees voted 8-0 to support the plan.

“The biannual goal-setting session is where the board identifies various themes, trends, challenges that could impact the village of Arlington Heights in [2024 and 2025],” Village Manager Randy Recklaus said during his report at the meeting. “The board synthesizes all information it receives from the citizen survey, staff reports, their own perspective and interactions with business people, visitors and residents of Arlington Heights and we try to develop it into our strategic priorities.”

The planning helps with establishing the village budget, officials explained.

Recklaus read aloud the priorities, which first include: “Work with the Chicago Bears Football Club, our residents and businesses, and all other local, regional and state-wide partners to develop a responsible, mutually beneficial and one-of-a-kind redevelopment plan for the former Arlington Racetrack site that benefits our community’s interests and is worthy of the property’s legacy.”

The Bears purchased the horse racing venue earlier this year and presented the village with a proposal to redevelop the land. The multi-billion dollar plans include building an NFL stadium, and including entertainment and residential districts.

While structures that had been on the land have been razed, the team has not made a final decision to build in Arlington Heights – with other suburbs, including Waukegan, Naperville and Aurora, wooing the Bears – and the village has made no binding commitments.

In addition to continuing to work with the Bears, village officials said at the meeting that other strategic priorities include continuing to maintain good fiscal stewardship of village resources. Leaders also want the village to pursue environmentally sustainable programs and business practices by creating more pedestrian and bicycle access.

“I want to assure the members of the community this is a very important step that the village board takes. By setting these priorities, it maps out the business plan that the staff can work from,” said President Pro-Tem Robin LaBedz. “These aren’t just priorities that get put on a shelf and forgotten about for the next two years, they actually drive the work of the staff and the village.”