Obama Foundation files plans for Obama Presidential Center

Credit The Obama Foundation  YouTube

"Take a look at that, at that initial decision where they decided between Jackson Park and Washington Park". Museum and library buildings will be joined by a space called the "Forum", where, according to the former United States president, "anybody can come together for some local programming, or to gather for larger-scale events in an auditorium, maybe record something in a broadcast studio, or just have a bite to eat".

According to Obama.org, "The Obama Presidential Center will be a new landmark for the South Side and an economic engine for the city of Chicago - drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, creating thousands of new jobs on the South Side - and help to continue the revitalization of historic Jackson Park".

"First, there are concerns that the Obama Center as now planned will not provide the promised development or economic benefits to the neighborhood", the letter explains.

In a letter signed by scores of faculty members, the professors argue that while they broadly "support the idea of establishing the Obama Center in our neighborhood", they also share many concerns expressed by local community groups about the existing proposal. Construction of a permanent architectural monument violates Olmsted's vision of a democratic urban park.

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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. On the current plans the intrusion into the park is huge: twenty-one acres, the size of two large city blocks. "The majority of the space will be free and open to the public". Ground on the Obama Presidential Center could be broken as soon as this year.

However, the Obama Foundation announced that the proposed site on designated historic parkland would not be administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and would not function as a presidential library housing records, manuscripts, and papers from the Obama White House.

The Obama Foundation outlined the guiding principles behind the center's design in a statement Wednesday. The required widening of Lake Shore Drive alone is estimated to be over $100 million. "We are concerned that these are not the best ways to use public funds to invest in the future of Chicago", the letter says.

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

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