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Future Mayor Urged To Stop Chicago Fire Soccer Facility Amid Claims City Abandoned Public Trust

Community groups across Chicago are working to block the building of a new professional soccer facility for the Chicago Fire after the federal government gave the go-ahead for at least a 40-year lease on public housing land Monday.

The Chicago Fire face off against Minnesota United in 2018.

The Chicago Housing Authority is leasing 23.3 acres to the team in Roosevelt Square on the city’s West Side in order to build a new training facility on a site originally set aside to rehouse families from a public housing complex that was demolished 20 years ago, Block Club Chicago reported.

“Chicago has too long a history of not providing for the needs of low-income people and making political deals," Chicago Housing Initiative Executive Director Don Washington told the outlet. "There’s no reason to believe there’s ever been a real plan to actually house the additional people. This deal is the abandonment of the public trust to house folks.”

The Chicago Fire will finance the facility’s development, with construction slated to begin in the spring. The team says it will invest $8M into the community for the “rehabilitation and preservation of nearby CHA housing and the creation of indoor and outdoor community spaces,” according to a news release from the CHA. The team will provide employment for local residents and resources for local businesses, plus free youth programming, per the release.

It is estimated the lease will generate $40M in revenue over the next 40 years, which will be invested into new housing sites, including ABLA Brooks Homes, Loomis Courts and Williams Jones.

The Chicago City Council approved the zoning in September despite some pushback from alderpeople and activists, and community organizers have now asked for meetings with mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas, Block Club reported.

Washingon told Block Club that Johnson agreed to meet with organizers, though Vallas has yet to respond.