x

Politics

After 5 Years, Obamas to Break Ground on Presidential Center

September 28, 2021

CHICAGO  — After five years of legal battles, gentrification concerns and a federal review, Barack and Michelle Obama were expected to attend a celebratory groundbreaking Tuesday on their legacy project in a lakefront Chicago park.

Construction on the site along Lake Michigan, near the Obama family home and where the former president started his political career on Chicago's South Side, officially began last month. Work on the Obama Presidential Center is expected to take about five years.

The Obamas were scheduled to host an event, which will be streamed online to limit crowds amid the coronavirus pandemic, with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

“With your help, we can make this center a catalyst for economic opportunity, a new world-class destination on the South Side and a platform for young people to drive change,” Obama said in a video announcement ahead of the groundbreaking.

The presidential center, which will sit on 19 acres of the 540-acre Jackson Park, will be unique among presidential libraries.

Obama's presidential papers will be available in digital form. The sprawling campus center will include a museum, public library branch, athletic center, test kitchen and children’s play area.

The initial cost the center was projected at $500 million, but documents released by the Obama Foundation last month showed it is now roughly $830 million. Funds are being raised through private donations.

Progress on the center has been delayed by lawsuits and a federal review required because of the location of Jackson Park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. At the same time, fears about displacing Black residents in the area developed into a yearslong battle resulting in city-approved neighborhood protections, including for affordable housing.

Obama chose Chicago over several cities including Honolulu, where he spent his early years. The former president has said he hopes the center will help jumpstart the economic engine of the city’s South Side.

It's a part of the city that has special significance for the Obamas. The center is near the University of Chicago where Obama taught law and where the Obamas got married and raised their two daughters. Michelle Obama also grew up on the South Side.

“When it came time to plan the Obama Presidential Center, we wanted to give something back to the place that gave us so much,” Michelle Obama said in a video announcement.

RELATED

NEW YORK – The New York Times has reported that “an aide to Mayor Eric Adams who served as his longtime liaison to the Turkish community has turned against him and is cooperating with the corruption investigation into Mr.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

2 Germans, a Spaniard and a Senegalese Killed in Building Collapse in Spain’s Mallorca Island

MADRID (AP) — Spain's National Police on Friday gave details on four people killed when a building housing a bar and restaurant club collapsed on the island of Mallorca.

NEW YORK – The New York Times has reported that “an aide to Mayor Eric Adams who served as his longtime liaison to the Turkish community has turned against him and is cooperating with the corruption investigation into Mr.

BOSTON – Crowds flocked to the Greek Festival of the St.

The news about air travel lately hasn't been pleasant.

Beyond the issues in Crete and our own in America, as we wrote in our ‘Analysis’ in last week’s edition, Patriarch Bartholomew has unfortunately ensnared himself in problems with the majority of local Orthodox Churches worldwide, with few exceptions such as those of Greece, Alexandria, and Cyprus, due to the granting of Autocephaly to Ukraine, which has proven to be ill-timed and ill-suited.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.