CHICAGO — A former Jewel-Osco on the city’s South Side may soon turn from a vacant lot into a migrant camp.
At 115th Street and Halsted Street in Morgan Park, a construction fence now stands where a Jewel-Osco once stood as plans are underway to covert the vacant lot into a migrant encampment.
On Tuesday, Alderman Ronnie Mosley informed residents that the city is conducting environmental analysis and testing before winterized tents are installed.
“We’re expecting in the next, I would say, two weeks or so to get those assessments back to let us know if that site will actually be viable to move forward,” Alderman Mosley said.
For weeks, residents of Morgan Park and elsewhere have been speaking out against the Johnson administration moving migrants into their community.
“This is absolutely a disgrace,” South Side resident Annette Cain said. “Why would you put our taxpayer dollars on migrants and not on the people who’ve been living in this community for decades and for their children and their grandchildren.”
“You ain’t doing nothing for us. Why you gonna treat them like they’re kings? Why can’t you do it for Black folks? Fix it up for Black folks,” Morgan Park resident Charles Williams said.
“Our community did not want this,” Alderman Mosley said. “This is something that the city is working to face, a global issue, a federal issue. And because the site was there and available and because the owners of the site sold the property to the city that was really what allowed this to come here.”
Under a deal Mosely struck with the Johnson administration the site can’t be used as a tent camp past Nov. 1, 2024. Soon after, developers will convert the site into Morgan Park Commons, 12 acres of affordable housing and retail.
In Brighton Park at 38th Street and California Avenue, construction crews are trying to begin work, but protesters have other ideas. For a second day, there were disturbances at the site. This morning, police said two people were arrested.
City officials have said the former Zinc smelting facility could become a tent shelter if it passes an environmental assessment.
With 12,250 migrants in 26 shelters, 1,494 at police stations, 579 at O’Hare International Airport, the Johnson administration continues to find housing for everyone.
Five more busloads of migrants were expected in Chicago on Tuesday.
Governor JB Pritzker announced last week a plan to improve the asylum seeker emergency response in Illinois.
The plan will invest an additional investment of $160 million as an emergency response to speed transition and independent living for the more than 24,000 asylum seekers who have arrived in the state since August 2022.