Add Aurora, Illinois, to the ever-expanding list of Chicagoland municipalities courting the Chicago Bears.
The self-described “City of Lights” and fictional setting of the “Wayne’s World” skits and movies formally made its pitch to lure the Bears, with city leaders sending a “letter of interest” to the NFL team.
“Welcoming a historic organization such as the Chicago Bears would enhance our bold vision for Aurora and will provide … a new home to begin the next phase of your storied history,” wrote Aurora mayor Richard Irvin.
The Aurora entry — also described by local officials as “throwing [the city’s] proverbial hat in the ring” — arrives amid a “stalemate” for the Bears in Arlington Heights over a tax dispute and joins rival stadium bids from Naperville, Waukegan, and the city of Chicago.
But the Aurora bid also arrives with complications. Located roughly 45 miles from downtown Chicago, Aurora is about as remote an option as Waukegan. No NFL stadium would be further from its home market downtown, beating the roughly 40 miles from the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium to downtown San Francisco.
Aurora officials said the Bears “responded quickly and positively” upon receiving the Irvin letter.
The initial proposal at Arlington Heights involved a domed stadium and entertainment district capable of hosting major events such as the Super Bowl and Final Four — and carried a projected cost of $5 billion. That vision will represent the core of wherever the Bears decide to build their new home.