As CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported Wednesday, some neighbors have worries, while others are hoping to cash in.READ MORE: Man Dies After Being Shot In West Garfield Park
At Arlington International Racecourse – the former home of the Arlington Million – the million-dollar question is, how likely is the move to happen, really?
For the first time in a long time, locals who have lived in and around Arlington Heights for decadesthink it is really likely.
“It just kind of feels like they’re pulling the city into the burbs,” said Heidi Michals, a neighbor to Arlington Racecourse.
Michals’ house is as close to Arlington Racecourse as you can get. The idea of trading horses for Bears on that slice of real-estate is something she’s not wild about.
“I just kind of cringe at that,” she said.
She cringes because as it is now, the sound of somebody’s lawnmower is the loudest noise in earshot. But with traffic and fireworks – and possible property tax hikes moving in if the Bears’ deal gets done – Michals said, “There are a lot more what-ifs, and things to look out for.”
The key question is what exactly fans will be looking out on from the grandstands if a new Bears stadium is built in Arlington Heights. Tye asked David Greising, president and chief executive officer of the Better Government Association, whether the Bears’ move is really likely to happen or if it could be a bluff.
“A commitment such as they have announced is pretty serious business,” Greising said. “But it’s also very simple to back out if you choose to or need to. There are all kind of ways to get out of this at very little cost.”READ MORE: 15-Year-Old Critically Wounded, Among 2 Shot In Belmont Heights Online Sale Meetup
Greising said taxpayers in Chicago and the suburbs need to listen closely.
“Taxpayers in Arlington Heights need to be looking out for tax incentives the city is offering to the Bears to do this project,” he said.
And Chicago taxpayers, he said, should be listening for what happens to the $84 million the Bears still owe for the Soldier Field renovation 20 years ago.
The what-if game may soon reshape the real estate game in the northwest suburbs, where right now you’ll find an out-of-business Burger King building up for sale near the racecourse.
It would be a boon for those already selling or eyeing a sale, but a potential bust for families who thought they found their forever home.
“It depends on your age and who you’re talking to,” Michals said. “Those that are looking to retire and move out – great for them. They’re going to have a great sale.”
The Arlington International Racecourse property is very close to the dividing line of three suburbs – Arlington Heights, Palatine, and Rolling Meadows.
The mayor of Arlington Heights is on record as excited about the prospect – even as some residents remain firmly in the “unsure” category.
Meanwhile, Greising said villages or cities will have to have some skin in the game in terms of footing some of the bill for an NFL franchise to move in.MORE NEWS: Dixmoor Boil Order Remains In Effect As Crews Continue Work To Identify Source Of Weeklong Water Woes
What residents don’t want to hear is that a city is starting a new tax increment financing arm to help pay for municipal improvements such as like roads and bridges and new lights.