Humboldt Park

Alderman Doesn't Want Riot Fest in His Ward After Last Year's Damage

Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) says he does not support Riot Fest in his ward after last year's damage to Humboldt Park

Festival season in Chicago will begin in just a few days, but not everyone eagerly anticipates the upcoming festivities.

Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) says he does not support Riot Fest returning to Humboldt Park for the fourth time this year following the excessive damage to the park during last year's event. The alderman said the damage to the park caused a public outcry in the community, which led to his decision to revoke his support for the festival.

"The sentiments have been loud and clear," Ald. Maldonado said.

The Chicago Park District announced a $182,000 bill for damages to Humboldt Park during the Sept. 12-14, 2014, music festival. The bill for the previous year was roughly one-third of the cost, Red Eye reported.

The damage was caused by rainy weather that turned the festival grounds into a muddy mess, and the damaged areas have yet to be fully repaired.

The founder of Riot Fest, Michael Petryshyn, expressed surprise at Ald. Maldonado's statement to RedEye and said the alderman has been "extremely supportive" of the festival since it first came to Humboldt Park in 2012.

"Although we entirely agree with the Alderman that the some (sic) areas needed additional landscaping maintenance (which continued this past Monday), we must all be reminded that it was Alderman Maldonado's direction and his final decision to change the footprint in 2014 to encompass low-lying parts of the park that we neither wanted, planned on or needed during a July 2014 meeting at OEMC," Petryshyn said.

Ald. Maldonado said he was initially supportive of the festival because he hoped it would bring economic support to businesses in the community, particularly the restaurants along Division Street. There was more damage than economic revival, however, he said.

A venue has not yet been selected for this year's Riot Fest. Ald. Maldonado said organizers of the festival have not approached him to discuss holding the event in Humboldt Park again.

This year's Riot Fest is scheduled for Sept. 11-13, 2015.

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