CHICAGO — Residents on Chicago’s West Side and near Amundsen Park are still speaking against turning the field house into a shelter for migrants.
Residents said as long as they are paying tax dollars in the community, they will voice their opposition to the city’s proposal.
On Monday, a number of long-time residents protests outside of the field house and hope Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson will take their concerns seriously and sit down with them face-to-face.
Community members say most of the programs that take place in the field house, like fitness classes and activities for seniors and children, are now moved to nearby park districts.
“This park is inside of the middle of a community that we kept together, we bought things inside the park,” Linda Johnsons said.
The group filed a temporary restraining order in an effort to stop the city from moving migrants into the field house.
“We pay taxes over here,” Thomas Simmons said. “If you want to take the park away from us, give us our tax dollars back.”
29th Ward Ald. Chris Taliaferro said city inspectors completed a walk-through of an alternative shelter space, including a mixed-use property at 1900 North Austin.
Taliaferro said the city is negotiating with the owner.
“It offers 450,00 square feet, of which 50,000 square feet the city needs in order to operate as a migrant shelter” Taliaferro said. “It does come with some limitations. It does not have showers but I believe we can work around that.”
If negotiations are successful, Taliaferro said the field house will reopen.
“That is my understanding,” Taliaferro said. “If 1900 North Austin goes through as a migrant shelter, there would be no need to close this park.”