Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Obama at odds with community organizers over plans for presidential library

Obama at odds with community organizers over plans for presidential library

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

"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.

According to Obama.org, "The Obama Presidential Center will be a new landmark for the South Side and an economic engine for the city of Chicago - drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, creating thousands of new jobs on the South Side - and help to continue the revitalization of historic Jackson Park". "Overall, this is a socially regressive plan".

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Following the release of the letter, the Obama Foundation reached an agreement Monday to move a 450-space, above-ground parking garage below ground. 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. The group also complains the center abandoned plans to be a library and instead will have only electronic archives on site. And while community members have anxious that the Obama Presidential Center will take up space in a way that inexorably alters the historic place's character, the new plans assert that the closure of nearby Cornell Drive will create a net gain in total park acreage.

Instead, the proposed center would include a recording studio, basketball courts, and a children's play garden.

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

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This is not to say that the economic needs of the neighborhoods around Jackson Park should be ignored.

The Obama Foundation said in a statement that despite the criticism the organization has received about the project, the foundation appreciates the feedback and looks forward to working with the community to gain their support for the center.

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The letter also cited apprehension regarding a pending deal between Huawei and an unnamed American telecommunications company. Even the company acknowledges its relative obscurity with the USA marketing tagline: "The best phone you've never heard of".

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