West Side residents demand return of programs to Amundsen Park

CHICAGO — Residents on the West Side are fighting to return programs to Amundsen Park after the city changed course on plans to use the field house to house migrants.

Galewood residents say they worry that cuts to the park hours and programs are precursors to the city converting the park into a migrant shelter.

The city moved programs in order to convert the fieldhouse into a shelter, but even though that plan has been put on hold, residents say those programs have not returned.

The doors at Amundsen Fieldhouse are locked at 6 p.m. each weekday so for the Windy City Dolphins Football and Cheerleaders, the park facilities are closed.

“We practice tomorrow, I have 155 kids and parents. We have over 200 people there. How are they going to use two porta potties? That is horrible, that is disgusting,” Dolphins founder Gerald Harris said.

According to Harris, the city’s plans to turn the fieldhouse into a migrant shelter were put on hold, but the facilities were not reopened.

“They have shut down the park. What they did, they told us one day, ‘It’s on hold.’ The next day, they’re moving everything out. Since then, they’re putting portapotties out here,” Harris said.

The Amundsen Park Advisory Council gathered Monday to demand the return of staff and programs to the park.

“Bring our programs back, in good faith. Bring our programs back to our park while this is on hold,” Donald Glover, the Amundsen Park Advisory Council President said.

To accommodate the shelter, senior programs were moved a mile and a half away, leaving some residents unable to participate, despite the fact that the plans have been put on hold.

“I was told to either go to one of those parks or stay at home,” West Side resident Johnnie Arps said.

Residents filed an an emergency Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to block the city from going back on their word and moving migrants into the Fieldhouse. They say they are hopeful a judge will sign off on that order and the city will restore their park.

The first court hearing on the request is set to take place on Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m.

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