Bears to begin demolishing Arlington Park track next week as they move toward new stadium

It’s hard to imagine a new Bears stadium at Arlington Park while the horse racetrack is still there. That won’t be a hindrance much longer.

Arlington Heights issued the Bears a demolition permit Friday, beginning with the interior, and a Bears spokesman said that project will start next week. The Bears will need separate approval from the village and Cook County for exterior demolition.

The Bears closed on the property in February and have reiterated they are moving ahead with an Arlington Heights stadium as their sole intention. They have not shown any interest in plans to renovate Soldier Field as their home.

“Change is difficult at times, but change is necessary at times,” chairman George McCaskey said at the NFL’s annual meeting in March.

The Bears began their push to leave Soldier Field, where they’ve played since 1971, by bidding on the Arlington Park property two years ago. Their lease of Soldier Field, which is owned by the Chicago Park District, runs through 2033, but they can negotiate an early exit.

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