Obama’s Presidential Center and Library to lead the way in September 2021

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The Obama Presidential Center and its accompanying library will finally have a groundbreaking ceremony in Chicago at the end of September 2021.

The events will be divided into two days, ending with a first in-person intervention with former US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker at the site of the Presidential Library on September 28. It will be broadcast live.

The Obamas made the announcement in a video posted on September 24:

The center and the library have been at the center of the controversy.

A lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Protect Our Parks (POP) and other plaintiffs have sued to block the initial construction which began in April. POP has opposed the center for several years for environmental reasons. The lawsuit argued that federal authorities should have relocated the campus in order to protect the environment. But in August, a federal appeals court denied their efforts to preemptively block construction. Valerie Jarrett, president of the Obama Foundation, called the decision “a major victory that lasted for years.”

A federal review was also held in 2017, due to the Obamas’ decision to place the Presidential Center campus in Jackson Park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The review, which assessed the impact of the project on historic properties, ended in February 2021 and gave the project the green light.

The $ 700 million center will include a presidential museum and library, a branch of the Chicago Public Library, offices for the Obama Foundation, a park and a sports center. A video from the Obama Foundation, the nonprofit created by the Obamas to oversee its post-presidential initiatives, including the establishment of the center, describes the library:

Obama has described the center as a focal point for young people, and the foundation says it will create jobs and more tourism in the predominantly black neighborhood of Chicago. Jarrett said: “Having grown up on the south side while seeing historic investments on the north side and divestment on the south side, we have the opportunity to weave the city both physically and symbolically.”

The whole project is expected to last around five years.


Sources:

“The documents detail the new cost for the Obama presidential center.” NBC Chicago, https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/documents-detail-new-cost-for-obama-presidential-center/2595781/. Accessed September 27, 2021.

“Court rejects offer to stop construction of Obama’s presidential center.” Reuters, August 16, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/court-rejects-bid-halt-building-obama-presidential-center-2021-08-16/.

“The federal government gives the green light to the Obama presidential center after a 4-year review. ” WTTW News, https://news.wttw.com/2021/02/03/feds-give-obama-presidential-center-green-light-after-4-year-review. Accessed September 27, 2021.

Kapos, Shiite. “It was hard to oppose Barack Obama. ” POLITICS, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/08/03/obama-presidential-center-chicago-park-protest-501946. Accessed September 27, 2021.

Merica, Dan. “Obamas is preparing to oversee the inauguration of the presidential library next week. ” CNN, https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/24/politics/obama-presidential-library-groundbreaking/index.html. Accessed September 27, 2021.

Yes, Alice. “The Obama presidential center is facing a retrial on the same day as pre-construction work begins at Jackson Park. ” Chicagotribune.com, https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-obama-presidential-center-pre-construction-jackson-park-20210414-i3vf262oejhmtcb4csp63jtp6q-story.html. Accessed September 27, 2021.



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