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Old January 15th, 2005, 05:56 AM   #21
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Well, you're certainly entitled to your opinion.

Development is not going to be because of 'a dozen soccer games'...Chicago has at least 20 home games a year, plus other soccer events, plus concerts, plus other stadium events.

All in all the stadium will have 60 usuable dates a year I believe the number is, plus the fact the Chicago Fire offices will be located there, and the ISSA Hall of Fame, and the Chicago Fire training facility (which will likely feature developmental league games and the Fire youth development program). Already there are at least a new hotel, a soccer store, and a restaurant coming as part of the development nearby so I think your assertion may be off base.

Also, CTA is working with the Fire on improving public transit access to the site, likely involving a new bus route from the Orange Line midway station down Cicero to 73rd and up to the stadium.

Like I said, you are entitled to your opinion but similarly as a longtime resident and someone who goes that way to Oak Lawn, a lot...I think you're off base.
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Old January 15th, 2005, 07:52 PM   #22
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The Chicago Fire of Bridgview

With all due respect, Bridgeview is an awful choice for this venue. The White Sox struggle to get all but the most committed fans down to 35th Street. Getting people all the way out to 71st and Harlem is going to be even more difficult. Sure, there is a large population already in the Southland, but the population is a relatively small share of ChicagoLand's total.

In my opinion, the Fire were foolish to accept Speaker Madigan's bait. If Anshultz (the Fire's out of town owners) were serious about building the Fire into a great franchise they would have put the money down themselves to get a better location. Instead they took the low risk (and very low gain) option of a government financed stadium in the middle of nowhere. Madigan got to reward his local supporters/cronies (some of whom are mob connected, as news reports showed during the land acquisition stage). That's all that mattered to Madigan. The Fire were just a tool for his political patronage machine.

The last decade of sports venue architecture and planning has proven that location is supremely vital. Downtown and neighborhood sports venues have shown that spectators want to do more than just go to the arena and the arena's parking lot. They want to go downtown (ex. Safeco field in Seattle) or to an urban neighborhood (ex. Wrigley or Fenway). Neither of those apply to Bridgeview. It's a long day in the car and not much else for most of the population of ChicagoLand to visit Speaker Madigan's little stadium down on Harlem and 71st.

If the Fire had local ownership committed only to the individual franchise, they'd behave differently. In the medium to long run, the Fire would be much better off with an actual Chicago address. Instead they viewed the franchise from a national league perspective which valued a safe no-risk government financed venue above all else.

Traffic isn't going to get better in Chicago over the next decade. It's getting worse. If there is an opportunity to put a venue on the Red Line (even on the near South Side), I think you have to go for it. Indeed, Bridgeport is already growing much faster than Bridgeview.

Just my opinion.
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