Obama Center Going as Poorly as the Rest of Obama's Legacy

14 January, 2018, 00:48 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Credit The Obama Foundation  YouTube

"We want to create an economic engine for the South Side of Chicago, a cultural attraction that showcases the South Side to the rest of the world".

Over 150 University professors have signed an open letter raising concerns about the Obama Foundation's plans for the Obama Center.

The Obama Center as now planned will not provide the promised development or economic benefits to the neighborhoods. A forum building for community events and programming, an athletic center for the community, outdoor plaza and library building will also be built in honor of Obama's legacy. Clearly the choice of Washington Park, specifically the plans developed by John Ronan Architects, opens the center up to a myriad of possibilities, majority eliminating the problems of the Jackson Park site. The presidential library will be housed on the city's South Side in the Jackson Park neighborhood.

"Michelle and I want this center to be more than just a building". Jackson Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the most important urban parks in the nation.

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The faculty call for "significant revision" to the current plan.

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. Obama once wanted to be an architect, in 2011 he said, "When I was younger, there was a time I dreamed of being an architect". None of the funds will go back to the City to improve train lines and public transportation infrastructure. Finally, it is the taxpayers of Chicago who are going to be forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for this project, according to estimates by the Chicago Department of Transportation.

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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