CHICAGO — The Amundsen Park advisory council and neighbors rallied Monday to protest plans to use the park’s fieldhouse as a migrant shelter.
The city had planned to house 200 people at the park district facility near Austin and Narragansett in the Galewood neighborhood for at least six months. It would have become the seventh Chicago Park District facility to be turned into a migrant shelter.
Many called on Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson to develop a better plan. Early Monday evening, just days away from the possibility of hundreds of migrants calling Amundsen Park their temporary home, the city has opted to change course.
“The move to Amundsen Park is currently on hold,” the mayor’s office told WGN News.
Since last year, more than 18,000 migrants from Texas have been bused into the city. As of October, more than 10,000 migrants live in shelters, with about 3,500 awaiting placement.
At various CPD districts, nearly 2,800 migrants remain — more than 700 at O’Hare airport.
While the mayor quietly signed a multi-million dollar contract to set up proposed tent cities, before Monday’s decision, many suggested the use of McCormick Place as a shelter to house migrants, much like the state and city did when setting up a makeshift hospital at the beginning of the pandemic.
Some in the community told WGN News they were willing to stage a sleep-in at Amundsen Park, even going so far as to chain themselves to the doors to stop migrants from moving in.
Pritzker has also asked Washington, D.C. for additional assistance.