Residents and a Chicago official have spoken out against city plans to convert a local field house into a shelter for migrants, a move that they claim threatens to displace a youth football team.
Chicago alderman Chris Taliaferro released a statement Monday confirming that he received notice the previous week that the city intended to use the Amundsen Park field house to house roughly 200 migrants.
“On Friday, September 29, 2023, I was informed by Deputy Chief of Staff Cristina Pacione-Zayas that a decision had been made to utilize Amundsen Park, 6200 W. Bloomingdale Ave., to house approximately 200 migrants. I immediately informed Deputy Pacione-Zayas that I strongly opposed the proposal and that this would adversely impact the neighborhood and park programming,” Taliaferro’s statement read.
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“This proposal disregards the issues of public safety that are of great neighborhood concern and that our police department has been working tirelessly to turn around. It overlooks the programming that is enjoyed by our senior and youth residents that actively utilize the park.”
He continued, “The proposal further disregards democracy whereby the residents and their locally elected officials have an opportunity to discuss the issues before decisions are made that would impact their lives. It takes away valuable neighborhood resources from a community that, in part, had been disinvested in for decades. It is because of these reasons and the fact that viable alternatives are available, that I strongly oppose closing Amundsen Park to house migrants seeking asylum.”
A community meeting was held Tuesday where more than 400 residents reportedly gathered to voice their opposition. Among those in attendance were members of a youth football team, according to videos shared to social media.
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Athletic activities, including baseball and football games, would be moved to alternate sites like Sayre Park and Lovett Elementary, according to a report from Block Club Chicago.
Windy City Dolphins Youth Football League coach Brion Page told the outlet that the shelter plan restricts resources from the residents that benefit from them, including the children.
“We’re not just a program, we’re a family. The city is doing something that could be entirely avoided,” he said. “You’re just saying, ‘The hell with our kids.’ I do believe they need help, but you’re putting a problem into an area that already has problems.’”
The Windy City Dolphins shared a post on the team’s Instagram Stories on Thursday announcing a “Protest to save Amundsen park.”
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The gathering is scheduled for Friday evening at 5:45 p.m.
“Just so we are clear, The Brand is still up and running and will not be shut down!” the team said in a statement also posted to Instagram.
“Finding a new home is something we may have to do but the fight is still going on with that as too many people have put in the work to build the program to what it is now. We appreciate all the support from all over but don’t get it twisted the Dolphins [are] still standing strong.”
According to the Austin Weekly News, the city’s Chief Operating Officer John Roberson said the city would revisit the decision following Tuesday’s meeting.
The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.