New roller rink opens in West Garfield Park

A new roller rink on Chicago's West Side is officially rolling forward. 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and others cut the ribbon at the Roller Rink and Community Plaza in West Garfield Park Friday.

The location on Madison and Pulaski used to be a vacant lot in a neighborhood known for shootings and drugs. 

"Everybody is using this spot, not just for the roller rink, but for community gatherings and movies and just to have a safe space on Madison to say ‘This is us,’" said Lightfoot.

According to the mayor's office, West Garfield Park had the highest rate of fatal and non-fatal shootings relative to the population of all community areas in the city. 

The community is also in the top five when it comes to neighborhoods experiencing narcotics sales and opioid addiction. 

"This investment in Garfield Park is an investment in Chicago. It's an investment in our youth," said Ald. Jason Ervin (28th Ward).


The rink is part of the city's initiative to send resources to communities that are facing high levels of violence.

"I'll tell you, I was a little nervous when they started talking about movies at night, but to drive by and literally see these kids in here in a safe space, and I believe those out there causing our issues will agree this will be a safe space," said Chicago Police Deputy Chief Ernest Cato.

Currently, the roller rink is only open during the summer, however, the city plans to make it a year round space next year.

"It's pretty cool. I think it's nice to have something in the community for kids to do during the summer especially," said one roller skater, Jaala Smith.