Taxpayers must remember that the Leaders Stadium is a want, not a need – Shaw Local

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The more Bears I see, the less I like.

This isn’t a football statement – October is for baseball – but a reaction to the slow trickle of details about the Lake Forest-based ‘Chicago’ team’s plan to build a $5 billion stadium complex in Arlington Heights. The latest information comes from the village council’s first public review of a draft agreement between the team and the community.

A caveat is to take the village at its word, there is no deal done, but a sincere commitment to take the process one step at a time. A second attempts to extrapolate general concerns about public investment in projects designed to enrich private parties to only aspects that might incorporate state or regional money.

If this becomes an issue only for Arlington Heights residents or perhaps Cook County voters, the implications narrow significantly. While it’s often true that Chicago or Cook County efforts end up being statewide – mobile trespass cameras, taxes on pop or shopping bags, etc. – it’s safe to say that no other entity will turn a former racecourse into a 10-figure football stadium.

That said, the warning signs are clear. The Bears aren’t shy about seeking public-private infrastructure partnerships. The project’s description as “mixed-use transit-oriented” involves the expansion of Metra’s Union Pacific Northwest line and possible work on Illinois 53. These projects could have benefits beyond transit traffic. stadium, but if they wouldn’t be needed except for the Bears – and if the team won’t move without a commitment – then it’s not a “must-have” situation for taxpayers.

For now, the village is committed to deploying economic studies to determine whether the revenues generated by the project would support public investment, but the more entities involved, the more difficult it will be to keep valid accounts showing that everyone gets their money’s worth. What becomes easier is minimizing individual or small group objections, as it becomes nearly impossible to demonstrate how much everyone is actually betting on something they may not want.

This project does not have to happen. Don’t let anyone sell it as essential.

THIS DAY : It’s the 100th birthday of Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, an Arkansas native who graduated from DuSable High School in Chicago in 1942 and spent three years with the United States Army fighting World War II in Europe before a Hall of Fame basketball career that began with the Harlem Globetrotters. and led to him becoming the first black player to sign an NBA contract. While a Globetrotter, Clifton played first base for the Chicago American Giants. After retiring from basketball, he signed with the Detroit Clowns. The New York Knicks still honor Clifton’s charitable work and he is also a member of Chicago’s 16-Inch Softball Hall of Fame. Clifton died in 1990.

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on Twitter @sth749. He can be reached at [email protected].

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