Chicago Bears need to be ‘more forthcoming’ about what will keep them in the city, Mayor Lightfoot says

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot said her administration continues talking with the Chicago Bears about staying in the city but said the team needs “to be more forthcoming about what they want.”

The city will be announcing a group of people who will look at the entire Soldier Field campus to ensure it’s being used effectively. Lightfoot, who called herself a “long-suffering” Bears season ticket holder, said during a Monday morning interview with The Score sports radio station that she will continue to work to keep the team here.

The Bears signed a purchase agreement for Arlington International Racecourse in September, a move that takes the team a step closer toward securing property for a new stadium and leaving its longtime home at Soldier Field.

The Bears on June 17 submitted one of multiple bids to purchase the Arlington Heights property, which Churchill Downs Inc. last winter announced would be up for sale for redevelopment.

Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips said in a statement last month that finalizing the agreement was the “critical next step in continuing our exploration of the property and its potential.” Churchill Downs announced the sale price was $197.2 million and said it anticipated closing the sale in late 2022 or early 2023.

Lightfoot initially dismissed the Bears’ interest in the Arlington Heights site as a negotiating tactic but has taken it more seriously since the bid was accepted. So far, however, the Bears have kept any demands for staying in Chicago out of the public eye and Lightfoot has repeatedly complained about the team not being more direct with the city.

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