Edgewater residents push city to start 'unwinding' Broadway Armory migrant shelter

Liz Nagy Image
Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Edgewater residents push city to 'unwind' Broadway Armory shelter
Chicago migrants have been living at the Broadway Armory in Edgewater for almost 6 months, but residents want community programming back.

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As the six month anniversary of the Broadway Armory being transformed into a migrant shelter approaches, Edgewater residents want the city to lay out a timeline for them to get their facility back.

"We feel like we've been really generous. This has nothing to do with being anti-immigrant. This is a very welcoming community and we welcome immigrants," said Pat Sharkey, block club president.

Residents said shuttering the sprawling park facility to the community has come at a steep cost, especially to neighborhood seniors and children.

"This affects over 1,200 people every single week who are using this facility," Sharkey said.

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In the heat of summer, Edgewater residents pushed back against city leaders when they canceled park district programs almost at a moment's notice to make way for hundreds of migrants pouring into Chicago.

"It is hard for us to repurpose space, but it's the time we're living in now where we need to repurpose space," said Beatriz Ponce de Leon back in July.

At that time, the city promised to reevaluate in six months, which will be on February 1.

"The youth in the community have no idea what's going on, so we really want answers," said Hussain Mohammed, president of the Park District advisory.

Edgewater residents are asking the Chicago Park District once again to make space for community programs and migrants inside the Broadway Armory.

"Nobody wants anybody out on the street," Sharkey said. "But what we do want is a commitment for a date by which they will have unwound this facility and we can restart park programs."