With the Chicago Bears looking to the suburbs as a potential site for a stadium, Cook County Commissioner Monica Gordon is encouraging the football team to consider Country Club Hills, throwing what her office described as a “Hail Mary pass” to encourage the team to consider the south suburb.
Gordon said in a news release Tuesday she and Country Club Hills Mayor James Ford “are imploring the team to look at the south suburbs as an opportunity to have a positive economic impact on a part of the Chicagoland area that is ignored all too often.”
Gordon, representing the county’s Fifth District and recently elected to replace Deborah Sims, said she sent a letter in September to Bears’ matriarch Virginia McCaskey and chief executive Kevin Warren inviting them to consider a site in Country Club Hills.
“Country Club Hills’ strategic location near three major highways, the Metra Electric line and the Indiana border gives the Bears the opportunity to develop a world class stadium and experience that management purports to want for the team’s future growth,” Gordon said.
Ford said Tuesday he was aware of the letter sent by Gordon, and although his signature was not on it he would hope the Bears would consider his city.
“We have great opportunities out here in the Southland,” he said.
Country Club Hills has land available near the interchange of Interstates 80 and 57 that was once eyed as the site of a large outlet mall. Warehouses have been built on part of the property after the mall plans fell through.
Ford said that “we could still squeeze about 200 acres” for a potential stadium use, and there is about 40 acres to the west, near Cicero Avenue, that could be used for things such as parking.
The mayor said he is not certain if the team will consider his city as it evaluates potential stadium sites.
“We’re taking our shot in the dark here,” Ford said.
Country Club Hills isn’t the only south suburb interested in wooing the team.
This summer, Richton Park Mayor Rick Reinbold extended an invitation to Warren to come take a look at this community, touting large expanses of available land and the south suburb’s proximity to highways and the Metra Electric Line.
At the time Reinbold sent the July 21 letter, the Bears were at work clearing the site of Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights. Other suburbs such as Aurora and Naperville, have expressed in bringing the team to their communities.
In response to Reinbold’s letter, the team did not specifically comment about Richton Park’s pitch and reiterated what the team had previously said about a possible site.
“It is our responsibility to listen to other municipalities in Chicagoland about potential locations that can deliver on this transformational opportunity for our fans, our club and the State of Illinois,” the organization said.
Richton Park’s offer of a site visit came not long after Warren said Arlington Heights is “not a singular focus” for the team as it considers alternatives to remaining at Chicago’s Soldier Field.