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January 5, 2001

Ryan Approves Lakefront Improvement Plan
Soldier Field reconstruction to be financed without state dollars

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed legislation to enhance Chicago's lakefront and rebuild historic Soldier Field. House Bill 1284, which Ryan penned at a signing ceremony at Soldier Field, authorizes the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to issue $387 million in bonds to help finance the $587 million project.

"For years we've seen stadium proposals fall by the wayside in Springfield for one reason or another," Ryan said. "But, this past fall, Mayor Daley and the Chicago Bears came up with a plan that worked and that the members of the General Assembly could support. The citizens of Illinois will now get what they deserve - a world-class stadium right here at Chicago's lakefront."

Under provisions of the legislation, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority will be authorized to issue $387 million in bonds. The remaining $200 million will come from the Chicago Bears organization, including a $100 million loan from the National Football League. The debt service on the bonds will be paid from the existing hotel tax levied in Chicago.

"I believe this is the best possible outcome for all parties involved, especially Illinois taxpayers," Ryan added.

In addition to the long-overdue Soldier Field renovation, the lakefront improvement project will include 19 acres of new parkland, a new 2,500-space underground parking garage, a veteran's memorial and improvements to McFetridge Drive.


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