SAUK VILLAGE - If Trustee Joseph Wiszowaty has his way, the new Bears
stadium will be located just west of the village.
At Tuesday night's village board meeting, Wiszowaty introduced a proposal
calling for construction of a new Bears' stadium just west of the village.
Since the proposed "McDome" stadium for the south Loop has been cast aside
by city and state leaders because the General Assembly is unlikely to provide
funds for it, Bears President Michael McCaskey has begun looking for another
site, particularly one in northwest suburban Arlington Heights.
Wiszowaty wants McCaskey to locate the stadium on land west of the Calumet
Expressway and north of Sauk Trail. The land - owned by the Elgin, Joliet and
Eastern Railroad - is in unincorporated Bloom Township but could be annexed by
the village, he said.
Wiszowaty said he hasn't talked to McCaskey and isn't even sure if the he
would give the Sauk Village site a moment's thought. But a McCaskey secretary
gave him a list of requirements the Bears demand for a new stadium site.
The new stadium would require a 100-acre site, with 15 acres needed for the
stadium itself. The rest would go for parking, Wiszowaty said.
The site Wiszowaty has his eye on is 500 acres. It is accessible by a major
highway and is near two of the proposed third regional airport sites.
Chicago Heights Mayor Charles Panici has offered to extend the city's
enterprize zone to include the stadium site, Wiszowaty said.
Including the proposed stadium site in the enterprize zone could provide tax
breaks and other economic incentives to urge the Bears to move to Sauk Village.
The enterprize zone also could provide tax breaks to lure hotels and businesses
near the stadium site, Wiszowaty said.
A Bears stadium in Sauk Village would mean "millions of dollars in revenue"
yearly for the village, he said.
Mayor Mark Collins said the proposal is worth looking into but warned
Wiszowaty not to build up his hopes.
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained," Wiszowaty replied.