Stadium Battle Continues

Opponents of the $632 million Soldier Field renovation project Wednesday asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a Cook County judge's dismissal of their lawsuit challenging the project's funding plan.

Circuit Court Judge John K. Madden last month sided with the Chicago Bears and the government agencies involved in the overhaul and rejected opponents' arguments that the $432 million in tax-supported funding for the plan violates state law.

Friends of the Parks and the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois asked the Supreme Court to hear their appeal directly so the case may be resolved quickly. The plaintiffs argued the Supreme Court should allow them to bypass the normal process of first appealing to the Appellate Court because of the amount of public funds involved.

The lawsuit brought by the Friends of the Parks and the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois is the last major hurdle threatening the $606 million project, which is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2003 season.

The gut-rehab of the 1924 Soldier Field will place a new 61,500-seat playing arena within the confines of the stadium's historic colonnades.


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