Migrants Chicago: Edgewater residents attend Council meeting Wednesday in push to 'unwind' shelter

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Gas ordinance, migrants could be topics at Chicago Council meeting
A new natural gas ordinance will be proposed, and North Side residents want to discuss a migrant shelter at Wednesday's Council meeting.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- North Side residents are at City Hall for Wednesday's Council meeting, as they push for a migrant shelter to be returned to the community.

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," block club President Pat Sharkey said .

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.

RELATED: Johnson meets with 25 suburban mayors to discuss migrant crisis

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," Beatriz Ponce de Leon said back in July.

At that time, the city promised to reevaluate in six months, which will be on Feb. 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. "Bring back that programming to the Armory so our youth can have a voice, our seniors can have a voice, and hey, listen, at the end of the day, the city of Chicago is like I said a welcoming city, one for migrants, and all what we really want to do is figure out a solution."

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."

Residents said they want to meet with city leaders.