Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Obama Foundation Submits Revised Plans for Chicago Presidential Center

This view of the Obama Presidential Center designs shows the museum forum and library This view of the Obama Presidential Center designs shows the museum forum and library
Melissa Porter | 12 January, 2018, 17:14

Today, the 44th president finds himself on the other side of the underserved communities he once championed.

The Obamas want the Center to be an "economic engine for Chicago and the South Side", according to the statement. The group also complains the center abandoned plans to be a library and instead will have only electronic archives on site.

According to his original plan, the Obama Center was to be built across from the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

"Any community organizer worthy of the name would have put this museum on the west side of Washington Park, which desperately needs the economic revitalization and already has extensive public transportation in place, as well as easy access to the Dan Ryan [Expressway]", Mr. Lipson said.

"Instead", Mr. Lipson continued, "the former president chose a much fancier, high-profile site on the lake, one with virtually no public transportation". A letter from faculty members at the University of Chicago - signed by 177 at last count - laid out a few of their major concerns.

That decision also made the Center ineligible for millions in federal aid, and while the $500 million project will be covered by the private donations, local taxpayers will face an estimated $100 million bill to cover costs generated by road closures called for in the blueprint.

Finally, the letter raises concerns about the Obama Center's cost to taxpayers.

Obama released images of the proposed presidential center Tuesday in a YouTube video, showing a white, modern-looking building surrounded by parkland.

Mr. Obama served as a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.

The previously planned parking facility will now be located underground between the library and athletic building, a change made following complaints about its previous above-ground location. The garage was initially slated to take up five acres on the historic Midway Plaisance, another part of the Chicago park system. Martin Nesbitt, Chair of the Obama Foundation board, said that the changes are the result of "thousands of conversations" with local residents and activists. We've reimagined the landscape plans and the recreational spaces. Obama Presidential Center is "socially regressive". The foundation has adapted plans after hearing from the community and has committed to projects and programs to improve lives on the Southside.