UPDATE (10/9) — “The move to Amundsen Park is currently on hold,” the mayor’s office told WGN News.
CHICAGO — The Windy City Dolphins Youth Football Team has been a part of the West Side community for three decades, but they are unsure of where their home will be once Amundsen Park is converted into a migrant shelter.
The City of Chicago is planning to move 200 migrants to the fieldhouse found at Amundsen Park, for up to six months, as City officials try to reduce the burden felt by the Chicago Police Department and their police stations, who are currently housing thousands of migrants shipped to Chicago from the United States’ southern border.
Residents in the Galewood neighborhood booed the idea at a meeting earlier this week, upset they weren’t consulted on the plan.
The Chicago Park District said youth and senior programming will move about a mile and a half away to Rutherford Sayer Park, but the six teams that make up the Dolphins aren’t a part of the park district. The league is a separate non-profit, with mostly kids from the local neighborhood.
“This is all we have,” said Darryl Adams, coach of the Windy City Dolphins. “I’m not sure if it’s going to displace our kids … lose kids to the streets.”
Mayor Brandon Johnson addressed the pushback today from neighborhoods where migrant shelters are popping up.
“The weight and the burden of this sacrifice has been on Chicagoans,” Johnson said. “And I’m hearing loud clear from our Black residents in particular, that they have high expectations — as they should.”
Johnson also said he has continued to ask the state of Illinois and the federal government to help share the burden, but some residents aren’t buying it.
“We are not anti-migrants at all,” said Michella Zapoluch. “However, we have to put our kids first, and the mayor has to figure out another solution [because] taking our community is just not one of them.”