Arlington Heights student to host speakers' series on Bears' possible move to town

An Arlington Heights college student is organizing a speakers' series that delves into the politics and economics of the Bears' move to town.

Connor Wielgos, a senior political science major at University of Illinois Chicago, says he plans to invite state legislators, academics familiar with the economic implications of stadium/entertainment district developments, and community organizers both for and against the NFL franchise's proposed megaproject at Arlington Park.

He's planning at least two public events sometime around August and September - possibly at Harper College in Palatine, where he attended until 2021, and at UIC.

To help pay for expenses like room reservations, equipment, speaker fees and marketing, Wielgos has a $5,000 prize from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The university announced this week Wielgos is one of three inaugural recipients of the Paul Simon Democracy Prize, which is given to Illinois college or university students to design and implement projects to revitalize democracy in their communities.

Wielgos, a 2020 graduate of Buffalo Grove High School, said most of the community events relating to the Bears' suburban relocation, to date, have been held by organizations with an agenda to either support or halt the move. His discussion series would be community driven and help bring transparency to a complex issue.

"I myself have yet to formulate an opinion on the move due to the fact that I'm unfamiliar with many of the economic concepts involved," he said. "It feels as though many of my neighbors in Arlington Heights feel the same sense of confusion on a lot of these topics, which is why I want to host these engagements, with the primary intent of educating the community on the economic possibilities of the project."

The Chicago Bears proposal to build a new stadium at Arlington Park, the centerpiece of a potential $5 billion redevelopment of the racetrack property, will be the focus of a speaker series being planned by a college student from Arlington Heights. Daily Herald File Photo, 2020
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