Obama Foundation Submits Development Plans for Presidential Library

Hannah Rogers
January 14, 2018

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".

"We are concerned that rather than becoming a bold vision for urban living in the future it will soon become an object-lesson in the mistakes of the past", the letter says.

The letter asks the Obama Foundation to sign a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) and expresses support for building the Obama Center on the South Side.

Another concern stems from the plan to hand over large portions of historic public parks to the Obama Foundation for use in building the venue. "Overall, this is a socially regressive plan".

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The Obamas hope that the center will be a new landmark and an economic engine for Chicago, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors, creating thousands of new jobs on the city's south side where they lived and worked for years.

"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. "Michelle and I are absolutely grateful to all of you for being a part of all this remarkable process", said former President Barack Obama in a video. The center will include a 235-foot-tall museum, a forum building for community programming, a library, community athletic center and an outdoor plaza. New plans call for an underground parking garage at the Obama Center site.

Instead, the proposed center would include a recording studio, basketball courts, and a children's play garden. Another two-story building will house a library and both buildings will be covered with accessible parkland on the rooftops. 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.

"Michelle and I want this center to be more than just a building".

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