Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

  by eolesen
This is the last year of racing at Atlington Park, which has hosted horse racing for around 100 years. Prior to OTB, the CNW and RTA used to offer express service to the track on race days, and layover tracks for the race trains still exist to the west of the existing station.

Last week, the Chicago Bears announced that they'd put in a bid on the property. I have to wonder if those tracks might again be put to use on game days...

https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/b ... story.html

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  by R36 Combine Coach
I don't understand why Bears would move from Solider Field, given the major 2002 renovation. However the
renovation did compromise the original integrity and has been removed from National Register.
  by eolesen
I'd think that a closed roof stadium capable of hosting a Super Bowl or other events is enough of an incentive... The Bears see what other teams have been able to do with year-round multipurpose facilities and entertainment districts.

From a transportation standpoint, the AP space would offer a direct freeway access on the Rohlwing Road side to IL-53, and the existing Metra connection can bring fans from anywhere in the CTA or RTA area via rail-subway. That's a no-brainer compared to SF. If UP and Metra could establish a connector at Mayfair, you'd open up express train options from all over the suburbs.

The lease with the City runs another eight years. It's going to take 3-5 years to build out, so 2033 isn't a bad target for the team to be aiming at. It also gives the NFL time to consider adding Chicago to the list of sites for Super Bowls like they did with Minnesota and US Bank Stadium's opening.

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  by justalurker66
Challenges: The long road to Arlington Park for Bears if bid accepted

Millions of dollars in penalties for any years that remain through 2033 (13 years).
The discussion over whether the Bears can keep using the "Chicago" label is interesting.
Funding to pay for the new stadium ... a lot of deep pocket asks.
Everyone: Interesting news about the Chicago Bears looking into relocating to a new Arlington Heights stadium
site on the Arlington Park Racetrack grounds. This is actually nothing new-the Bears first looked into moving out
of Soldier Field in the early-mid 1970s to another site in the region - NW Indiana (Ex.) was once considered.

Back then former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley (Chicago Mayor from 1955-1976) was a tough negotiator when
it came to the Bears leaving Chicago - saying as example that the Bears can not use the name "Chicago Bears" if
they leave Soldier Field and move outside the City of Chicago - "Arlington Heights Bears" was a suggestion.

JL: The NBC Sports article was very good in showing that the Bears do have a lot to lose if they plan to move
out of Soldier Field before the team lease expires. A new stadium may need taxpayer or other public funds to
be constructed and I agree that the City of Chicago will not be at all receptive if the Bears leave Chicago.

Will a new NFL stadium be built alongside or outright replace the Arlington Park Race Track?
The transportation access seems adequate for this proposed site with the Metra/UP Northwest Line as part.
Could there be any potential problems with NIMBY opposition to construction of a Arlington Park stadium?

In closing the Chicago Bears should remain in Chicago. Would moving create more problems than it is worth?
  by eolesen
The NY Giants and NY Jets both play in NJ.

The Dallas Cowboys play in Arlington TX.

End of silly arguments over use of the name Chicago Bears.... <Mic drop>

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  by justalurker66
Sure ... If you think the city will give up without a fight. I expect the city will push the issue as far as it can - if only to cause as many problems as possible.

I generally agree that the city doesn't own the naming rights to everything that wants to use the "Chicago" label and they would probably lose in court. They would need to get the patent and trade mark office to agree with any demand that "Chicago" not be used for marketing purposes by businesses outside of the city. That is a huge ask.

Arlington Heights would have more control over the naming than the City of Chicago ... and although they may wince at having people think that their fair community is just another Chicago neighborhood (600 not 606!) the income from having the Chicago (area) Bears play in town will compensate for their hard feelings ... just as much as Anaheim accepts having the Los Angeles Angeles play in their town (despite early objections to LA in Anaheim naming).
  by eolesen
The "Chicago Bears" trademark is owned by the football club, not the City. There's nothing they can really push aside from trying to influence public opinion...

I don't doubt that public financing might be needed. Getting a stadium and entertainment district is a once in a century deal, and having 320+ acres **on live rail** to develop with relatively little standing on it is something that very few other communities within 30 miles of downtown can offer. Unlike most other infrastructure deals in the state, this would develop consistent revenue for itself in addition to benefits for surrounding area.

If it's a done deal, the City of Chicago would find itself with a development opportunity as well. Since Soldier Field is no longer a historical landmark, just imagine what could be done with that piece of property...
  by NRGeep
It’s certainly worked well for Patriots in suburban Foxborough. Pats trains are packed, with two locomotives routinely hauling 20 + coaches.
Pats never really had a stable home however before Foxborough, unlIke Bears... shuttling from green line friendly Fenway Park, BC and BU stadiums plus Harvard stadium before Foxborough.
  by CHTT1
The big question is "who will pay for the Bears' new playground?" The McCaskey's? Don't make me laugh. These cheapskates have made a fortune on their original $500 investment, but they don't like to spend their money. So who will actually pay for the stadium? The state? Chicago's Democratic leaders might be so pissed off, they'll block any state spending. Arlington Heights? I doubt if it has enough resources to pay for the stadium unless it goes deep into debt, which might cause a revolt amongst the residents. Some high powered investment firm? Maybe, but it will be hard to make a profit on an event space only fully used for nine or 10 days a year. Quite frankly, I think the whole thing is just another attempt to squeeze money out of the city, just like the Bears have done before.
No Super bowl in Chicago? I can live with it.
  by R36 Combine Coach
CHTT1 wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:35 pm Maybe, but it will be hard to make a profit on an event space only fully used for nine or 10 days a year.
NJ Meadowlands has tried to redevelop the sports complex into a family friendly year round destination,
with the American Dream retail and entertainment development, especially after the closure of the arena
and decline in harness racing.
NRGeep wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:53 pm It’s certainly worked well for Patriots in suburban Foxborough. Pats trains are packed, with 20 + coaches.
That's what happens with a team with a playoff slot each year.
  by RRspatch
eolesen wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 9:08 pm The NY Giants and NY Jets both play in NJ.

The Dallas Cowboys play in Arlington TX.

End of silly arguments over use of the name Chicago Bears.... <Mic drop>

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The Washington Redskins (yes, I still call them that having grown up in the DC area) play in Landover, Maryland. At least you can get there by Metro subway (sort of) if you don't mind the walk.

My complaint about sport team names revolves around geographic and regional terms. How many people play Jazz in Utah and how many Lakes are there in LA?
  by justalurker66
RRspatch wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:04 amMy complaint about sport team names revolves around geographic and regional terms. How many people play Jazz in Utah and how many Lakes are there in LA?
Plenty of lakes in the Minneapolis Minnesota area where the Lakers were before they were moved to LA at the end of the 1950s. The New Orleans Jazz moved to Utah in 1979.

The probably could have changed their names.

Lions and tigers and bears (oh my). Bengals are also tigers. Cubs are also bears. One could go with sock color or some bird. The Cincinnati baseball team can join the Washington Football Team searching for a new identity.

My favorite was a small town team called the Redskins that decided to retire that name and vote on a new one. Five finalists were announced and voting was underway until voting was abruptly stopped and one of the choices removed. Apparently "Red Devils" was not a good alternative. :)

Back to da Bears. Perhaps they should go national and just call themselves "The Bears" ... people don't need a city attached.

And as far as Arlington Park having a transit stop on Metra. I believe Soldier field has some transit services nearby. But they are electric trains so perhaps that doesn't count.
  by eolesen
The 18th Street station is on the Metra Electric, and about a half mile from the stadium. Millennium Station and the MED isn't exactly convenient to the rest of the Metra network, so most people just take the bus from either Ogilvie or Union Station.

The Metra line going to Arlington Park covers the Northwest suburbs pretty well, and once downtown, you can easily walk a block and catch any of the lines out of Union Station or the CTA.

The bigger advantage at Arlington Park is access to the Tollways.
  by eolesen
It's happening.....
The Bears and Churchill Downs Incorporated signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) this week for the entire Arlington Park land parcel in the Village of Arlington Heights. The Bears, Churchill Downs Incorporated and the Village of Arlington Heights released the following statements regarding the latest step in the sale of the property:

"We are excited to have executed a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) for the Arlington Park property," said Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips. "We are grateful to Churchill Downs Incorporated for their efforts to reach this point. We also appreciate the support of Mayor Tom Hayes and the Village of Arlington Heights. Finalizing the PSA was the critical next step in continuing our exploration of the property and its potential. Much work remains to be completed, including working closely with the Village of Arlington Heights and surrounding communities, before we can close on this transaction. Our goal is to chart a path forward that allows our team to thrive on the field, Chicagoland to prosper from this endeavor, and the Bears organization to be ensured a strong future. We will never stop working toward delivering Bears fans the very best experience. We will continue to provide updates on our progress at the appropriate time."

"This has been an extraordinarily competitive bid process," said Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO Bill Carstanjen. "Congratulations to the Chicago Bears for their professionalism and perseverance. It is clear they are committed to an exciting vision for their team and their fans. We wish them the greatest success and are excited for the opportunity this brings to the Village of Arlington Heights and the future economic development of this unique property."

"I could not be more excited about the news that the Chicago Bears have signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement to buy the Arlington Park property in our community," said Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes. "My goal for any redevelopment has always been to put this prime piece of real estate to its highest and best use, and I can't think of a higher and better use than this one. There is a long way to go as we begin this journey, and many issues for the community to discuss, but the Village is committed to working with the Bears organization and all stakeholders to explore this opportunity for Arlington Heights and the northwest suburban region."
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