Is it the $100 million in taxpayer dollars that will be needed for infrastructure improvements, to build an Obama library on arguably one of the most prime pieces of real estate in Chicago, that residents object to? Or could it be that Chicago residents aren’t interested in erecting a monument to President who leaves office, as his “home state” of Illinois is about to become the first state in history to file for bankruptcy, and a city he temporarily called “home” that’s been dubbed “The most dangerous city in America”?
Perhaps Barry could put on his community organizer pants and hustle up some interest for a library in the state of Hawaii, where he actually grew up, instead of a city he used to further his political career…
More than 100 members of the University of Chicago faculty are asking the Obama Foundation to move the proposed library honoring the 44th president to a new location because the plan as currently constituted is “socially regressive.”
The Obama Presidential Center will not provide the “promised development or economic benefits” to surrounding neighborhoods, the professors write and could cost more than $100 million in state funds.
“We are concerned that these are not the best ways to use public funds to invest in the future of Chicago,” the letter reads.
The library will also take over large sections of two historic public parks, Jackson Park and Midway Plaisance, and force the closure of a major South Side thoroughfare, Cornell Avenue. The professors argue it’s a “traffic-jam in the making.”
An Obama Foundation spokesperson said the library will bring hundreds of thousands of people to the South Side every year and will ” strengthen the economic climate in the region. ”
“While we don’t expect everyone to agree with every element of the plan, we look forward to working with people across the community and the city to make the most of the opportunity to create a global destination that will showcase the South Side to the world, ” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The letter has been circulating internally at the University of Chicago and was first made public by Blair Kamin, the architecture critic at the Chicago Tribune.
President Barack Obama lectured at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
The proposed Obama Center will sit on the shore of Lake Michigan, next to the Museum of Science and Industry and across the street from the University of Chicago campus.
The project is being financed with private donations but is expected to require as much as $100 million in infrastructure improvements to the surrounding area.