Pat Nabong, Chicago Sun-Times

The Garfield Park Community Plaza & Roller Rink is a new temporary community space in the West Garfield Park neighborhood at the intersection of Madison and Pulaski Avenues, in what was a formerly vacant lot.

The idea for the plaza sprung out of a neighborhood activation plan and community engagement process conducted by Studio Gang and the Goldin Institute on the West Garfield Park neighborhood, with the plaza design executed by Site Design Group and built by All-Bry Construction. Funding for the community space came from the State of Illinois' new Cannabis Regulation Fund. Although the plaza was a product of an extensive community engagement process, there was still significant dissent for the space from some community members over safety concerns. West Garfield Park and the stretch of W Madison Ave the plaza sits on in particular are common locations of gun violence and illegal drug trade. However, community organizers countered that the positive activation of the roller rink and plaza would discourage crime in the area and give young people an opportunity for fun and recreation.

"Only through making investments like these are we able to give our most vulnerable residents the resources they need to stay engaged and stay safe." - Mayor Lori Lightfoot