City of Chicago Breaks Ground on Community Plaza and Roller Rink in West Garfield Park Neighborhood

"Design has a critical role to play in uplifting communities and making our cities more equitable and resilient. Working with the people who know Garfield Park best—its residents—to imagine the future of their neighborhood has been incredibly rewarding. We're proud to help our home city of Chicago to invest in the safety and prosperity of this community."

— Jeanne Gang

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, 28th Ward Alderman Jason Ervin, members of the Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collaborative, and residents today broke ground on a new Community Plaza and Roller Rink in West Garfield Park. Now a vacant lot, this idea was developed through a community engagement process run by Studio Gang in collaboration with the Goldin Institute and other community partners with the goal of improving public safety and addressing the root causes of violence in the neighborhood. A Roller Rink and Community Plaza emerged as ideas from community members as a way to create safe gathering spaces and opportunities for youth programming for residents.

'Over the last nine months, the Mayor’s Office has partnered with several Chicago organizations including, renowned architecture and urban design firm Studio Gang and the Goldin Institute, a non-profit organization that supports community-driven social change. Both Studio Gang and the Goldin Institute donated their services to design and conduct a robust community engagement process in West Garfield Park, resulting in proposals for community-driven neighborhood changes.

Building on Studio Gang’s 2017 work for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice in New York, and the local peace-building knowledge from the Goldin Institute’s Chicago Peace Fellows program, the team researched the history of the neighborhood, the built environment, and existing initiatives in the community to suggest ways that design interventions could support community members’ aspirations, uplift the good work that is already happening, and identify opportunities for additional investment that could address the root causes of neighborhood violence.'

The City plans to open the rink this July with a temporary Roller Rink and multi-purpose space, with a goal of reopening the space with permanent lighting, furniture, stage, and outdoor activity space in June 2022. Read more

"Neighborhood Activation serves as my administration's latest commitment to enhancing public safety and builds on our comprehensive summer safety strategy. By making investments at the block level in communities that are facing high levels of violence, we are able to give our most vulnerable residents the resources they need to stay engaged and stay safe. Only by driving resources where they are needed most, with input from community members, can we truly eliminate the scourge of violence from our city."

— Mayor Lightfoot


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