Obamas reveal more details and images for Presidential Center in Chicago

Adjust Comment Print

As of Monday evening, 155 University of Chicago faculty members had signed the open letter.

The Obama Presidential Center, near Lake Michigan on the south side of Chicago, will get a taller, slimmer and more transparent museum tower than the previous version revealed a year ago. According to the U. Chicago faculty, the Center "will not provide the promised development or economic benefits", as it eats up the remaining real estate near the university and an extant museum, leaving no room for locals to build their own businesses around the complex.

The Obama Library South Side Community Benefits Agreement Coalition says "low-income, working-, and middle-class communities" will be "directly impacted by the development of the Obama Presidential Center".

Finally, the letter raises concerns about the Obama Center's cost to taxpayers. All of this is an indication of a lack of a comprehensive plan and neighborhood input.

Brenda Nelmes, co-founder of Jackson Park Watch, told Curbed Chicago in a previous story, that the community had questioned if the inclusion of parking garage was truly "forward thinking".

More news: Good news for Mohamed Salah before Man City
More news: NJ doctor charged with having wife killed to protect drug ring
More news: Hyperkin gets one-up on Nintendo with Ultra Game Boy

The project will also annex more than 20 acres from Jackson Park, an urban park on the National Register of Historic Places designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architects who designed Central Park.

"At a time of increasing complexity and pressure in urban life, Chicago should be dedicated to preserving our public parks as open areas for relaxation and play for all its citizens", the letter states, criticizing the slated intrusion into the Midway Plaisance and Jackson parks.

A spokesperson for the Obama Foundation said the center has earned the support of "thousands of people in our community and across the city who have weighed in at public meetings, online, and in residential meetings around the area". They have to date rejected many pleas of neighborhood groups to place the garage underground. Again, this is a precious, historic urban park that ought to be preserved for future generations not given to a private entity for development into a parking lot. That's the most vital aspect of the Obama Presidential Center - creating spaces for people to connect and collaborate, to take home a piece of what you've learned together.

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.

We're sure the new 3D renderings for the park - released Wednesday - will only throw fuel on that fire.

Comments