Chicago Migrants

Broadway Armory restores park district programming after migrants moved from facility

The Broadway Armory in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood was one five Chicago Park District facilities used to house migrants.

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The Broadway Armory Park on Chicago’s North Side reopened to the public on Saturday, becoming the latest park district facility to restore programming after serving as a migrant shelter.

“I could cry right now,” said resident Gale Kryzak. “I think it was very hard on the whole community.”

Kryzak, who lives in Edgewater, was among the residents who weren't happy when the city converted the park district facility into a migrant shelter last August.

“I was afraid we would never come back,” she said.

Broadway Armory Park was one of five Chicago Park District facilities used to house migrants. Several programs were moved to nearby facilities at the time, while others were canceled.

“The park district programming is coming back in full swing tomorrow - from summer camp to the senior center being open, so many different activities being involved here in the park,” said Hussain Mohammed, Broadway Armory Park advisory council president.

Since March, the city has been working to decompress park district facilities by relocating migrants and making any necessary repairs before reopening.

“It’s a welcoming ward, but at the end of the day we do pay taxes on this facility,” Mohammed said. “It’s a facility where not only the youth come back, the whole community comes together under one roof.”

NBC Chicago learned hundreds of migrants moved out of the shelter about a month ago. The park district hosted an open house Saturday where visitors got a chance to tour the facility and learn about summer programming and activities.

“This program, this area is open for everybody. It’s not like only for [the] Edgewater neighborhood,” said Hussain Gilani.

Gilani, a scoutmaster for Troop 2825, said he hopes to bring everyone together in this space again to serve its true purpose.

“I’m definitely excited to utilize the space and learn with the community leaders and grow the program here as well,” he said. “Because in the end it’s all about the youth—they are our future so we definitely need to invest in them as well.”

A Chicago Park District spokesperson said all five facilities have since reopened as of this week. Most of the district's summer programs start Monday.

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