The Obama Center doesn't belong in Jackson Park

14 January, 2018, 00:53 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • University Professors Sign Letter in Support of Obama Center Benefits Agreement

"When I was younger, there was a time I dreamed of being an architect", said Barack Obama in revealing the new crowdsourced plans.

In its letter, the group expressed concerns the center won't be a "bold vision for urban living", but instead will become "an object-lesson in the mistakes of the past".

Grass-roots activists, conservationists and academics on Chicago's South Side say the Obama Presidential Center, as now planned, does not do enough to benefit neighborhoods badly in need of economic revitalization.

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Finally, the letter raises concerns about the Obama Center's cost to taxpayers. The Obama Foundation announced Monday afternoon it no longer plans to do this.

Other critics say that the use of government-owned land to build a private facility will hurt instead of help Chicago's South Side neighborhood.

Because of the planned location of the Obama Center, the Obama Foundation plans to take over a section of another historic, public park - Midway Plaisance, also designed by Olmsted - and turn it into an above-ground parking garage. None of the funds will go back to the City to improve train lines and public transportation infrastructure. New plans call for an underground parking garage at the Obama Center site.

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The complex consists mainly of four buildings- the museum tower, a forum, a library and an athletic center, plus a plaza.

The library will be housed in Chicago and will include a museum building that is 235 feet tall.

Charles Lipson, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, which sits just blocks away from the center's future location, said Mr. Obama is "indulging himself" by building "a monument along the lakefront, where it will have a lot less positive impact than it could have had elsewhere". Because, according to the professors, the Obama Presidential Center wastes millions of taxpayer dollars in an already broke state, destroys a public park and is "socially regressive" to the affluent community.

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