If Kevin Warren thought dealing with politicians and tax assessors might be easier than dealing with chancellors, deans, trustees and athletic directors in the Big 10, then perhaps this week has shifted his mindset.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports today that the Bears have entered into talks with Naperville, that west Chicago burb where all the Chicagoans move to when they leave the city, about sites for a potential new stadium.
This comes amid a breakdown of talks with Arlington Heights and surrounding suburbs around property taxes for school districts.
Naperville Mayor Scott Wehrli on May 24 sent the Bears a letter, asking the team to meet and discuss available properties in the west suburb, according to a letter provided to the Sun-Times by the city of Naperville.
The Bears had scheduled a meeting with Wehrli in Naperville on Friday — and the team is open to entertaining proposals outside of the Arlington Heights site, according to a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations.
It comes as no surprise that the Bears would play this as a negotiating tactic to hopefully turn the screws on Arlington Heights to re-assess the former Arlington Park site, where the Bears have already started demolition.
The team went further and released its own statement confirming the letter and meeting.
Those following the stadium and Arlington Heights news closely will see this as a huge 180-degree turn from last July when the Bears said “The only potential project the Chicago Bears are exploring for a new stadium development is Arlington Heights.” That was in response to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s ridiculous proposal to build a dome over Soldier Field.
But that was before the deal closed. Now that the deal closed and the Bears are lobbying in Springfield and the surrounding area for money and tax breaks, all bets are off.
This won’t be over anytime soon and is definitely just a ploy to get that sweet, sweet tax deal locked in. But until then, this could get messy. But it’s also essentially what Kevin Warren was hired for.