New Renderings of Chicago's Obama Library Released

The Obama Presidential Center design as seen from the south side of the campus

The Obama Presidential Center design as seen from the south side of the campus

The facility will be built along Lake Michigan on Chicago's South Side.

"A$3 s we've said before", wrote the Foundation, "the Obama Presidential Center will be an open, inclusive campus that integrates directly into Jackson Park"-a beloved historic park, whose reallocation for private development has drawn anger from the community the Foundation claims it intends to serve".

Here's the most important thing: Michelle and I want this Center to be more than a building or a museum. Martin Nesbitt, Chair of the Obama Foundation board, said that the changes are the result of "thousands of conversations" with local residents and activists.

The Obama Center as now planned will not provide the promised development or economic benefits to the neighborhoods.

Despite such claims, a coalition of eight community groups on the South Side is demanding the Obama Foundation sign an agreement guaranteeing neighborhood involvement in the development and maintenance of the Obama Center. Construction of a permanent architectural monument violates Olmsted's vision of a democratic urban park. On the current plans the intrusion into the park is huge: twenty-one acres, the size of two large city blocks. Ground on the Obama Presidential Center could be broken as soon as this year.

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A parking lot, of course, privileges cars and those who can afford them.

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. Parking is expensive, and though public lands are being given away, all the profits from this parking lot will go to the Obama Foundation.

"None of the funds will go back to the City to improve train lines and public transportation infrastructure", the faculty members add.

The letter also states that the center will cost Chicago taxpayers "hundreds of millions of dollars". "Overall, this is a socially regressive plan".

The letter closes with a blistering criticism of the project's estimated cost, which the professors argue will easily exceed $100 million and fall exclusively on the shoulders of the taxpayer.

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