Anonymous survey asks whether suburban residents would support Bears move to Arlington Park

  • Empty Holster, right, with jockey Jareth Loveberry, wins on Kentucky Derby Day at Arlington Park.

    Empty Holster, right, with jockey Jareth Loveberry, wins on Kentucky Derby Day at Arlington Park. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, May 1

 
Daily Herald report
Updated 6/19/2021 4:53 PM

An automated phone survey to gauge attitudes toward the Chicago Bears' possibly moving to Arlington Park is circulating in the suburbs, although several community leaders don't know where it came from.

Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips on Thursday disclosed publicly and in a phone call to Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes that the team is bidding for the 326-acre racetrack property in a move that could relocate the team from Soldier Field in Chicago.

 

Hayes said he heard about the anonymous survey from a village trustee, whose wife received it.

"It's certainly not coming from the village, and I'd be interested to know who's doing it," Hayes said. "It could be anybody. Who knows?"

The survey, received Friday by a Daily Herald employee living in a nearby suburb, asks four questions of local residents: age range, gender, which NFL team they root for such as the Bears or Packers, and whether they would support the Bears' moving to Arlington Park.

The call began with an explanation that the Bears had put in a bid for Arlington Park and ended with a woman's voice saying, "Go Bears!"

It's unclear whether the Bears are behind the survey or how far and wide it is being circulated.

"Nobody surveyed me and I know nothing about it," said state Rep. Mark Walker, an Arlington Heights Democrat whose 53rd District includes parts of Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights and Wheeling.

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Officials at Churchill Downs, the Louisville, Kentucky-based owner of Arlington Park, say their real estate firm received "strong proposals from numerous parties" by a Tuesday deadline for proposals to redevelop the iconic 94-year-old racetrack. They did not list the proposals.

One other proposal has been announced publicly, led by former Arlington Park President Roy Arnold.

Arnold, of Endeavor Properties LLC, is working with prominent Chicago developer Sterling Bay, Ocean Atlantic and GSP Development on a plan to keep the existing track and grandstand for live horse racing.

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