The mayor must put a lid on the multi-billion dollar Soldier Field Dome plans.

A trio of Soldier Field renovation plans released by the mayor’s office this week — especially the most expensive version that calls for a dome over the stadium — may have the words “potential boondoggle” in the margins. Seal around.

How to explain Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s desire to spend between $900 million and $2.2 billion to expand the stadium either to retain a football team that has clearly moved on, or to accommodate such events? To entice those who have shown no real interest in coming here?

And who will pay for this thing? The mayor refused to say that, which says for us, taxpayers — who are on the hook for $400 million in debt from the 2003 Soldier Field rehab — beware.

“We will make a very compelling case that any investment made with precious tax dollars will provide a substantial return on investment that makes sense for taxpayers,” Lightfoot said Monday.

There is no doubt that it is time to rethink Soldier Field. But with so many pressing issues around the city and in the parks that need public funding, taxpayers shouldn’t be made responsible for multibillion-dollar stadium renovations.

Dome ‘prohibitively expensive’

The dome was among three options that Lightfoot presented at Monday’s news conference at Soldier Field.

Other suggestions include later adding a dome to the structure, or renovating it to better accommodate professional football, college football games and other events.

Of course, some version of the third option makes some sense. As it stands now, that’s still a staggering $900 million.

But the mayor’s assertions in Monday’s announcement that a revamped Soldier Field could attract big-ticket events like the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four seemed more like wishful thinking than an actual plan.

That no one from the NFL or the College Basketball Association attended the news conference to speak up for the mayor’s efforts bothers us.

“We haven’t seen a plan that would take that burden off the taxpayers,” said Juanita Irizarry, executive director of Friends of the Parks, which was part of the mayor’s 23-member working group called Park District Ownership Soldiers. The field was tasked with reconsidering. museum campus — but was left out of the final round of negotiations over the future of Soldier Field.

“Friends of Parks disagree that Soldier Field should have a dome,” Erzari said.

He called the move “prohibitively expensive” and made a strong case that the money should be “dedicated to rebuilding or repairing crumbling fieldhouses and other park infrastructure around town.” Should.”

Stadiums, not cash registers.

For all its expense and aesthetic problems, the 2003 Soldier Field redo had at least one benefit: It kept the dilapidated 1924 stadium from falling down.

But judging by the latest renderings, the proposed renovation has the ill-fated intention of turning the old lakeside soldier into a money maker. The mayor himself said as much on Monday.

“Even if the bears stay, and I hope they do, but even if they don’t, we’re going to generate massive revenue and financial impact for our city,” Lightfoot said.

As the park district’s largest asset, it’s only right that Soldier Field pays its own freight and contributes significantly to the agency’s coffers.

But the notion that it could be repurposed to function as a mass cash register seems to us to be a reason to justify asking a large public on the street: “Don’t worry, guys. We will pay it all back.”

When it comes to justifying funding for major public projects in this city, it’s always the promise — the dangling carrot.

And yet it never happens. Taxpayers rarely get relief. Just the bill.

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