University group announces opposition to Obama Center


Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects' new design for the combination museum and community center in Jackson Park features a taller and slimmer version of the high-rise museum tower and an underground parking structure.

"Jackson Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the most important urban parks in the nation", the letter reads.

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.

The letter called the plan "socially regressive", citing concerns about its location in the historic Jackson Park, its plans for an above-ground garage and more.

In an email Wednesday morning from the Obama Foundation and signed by "Barack", the former president continued to make his case for the campus, despite continued criticism by locals, including almost 200 faculty at the University of Chicago- which is adjacent to the anticipated site of the Center-who panned the plans as "socially regressive" in an open letter. This Center is for young people on the South Side and for young people all around the world - the leaders of tomorrow who are ready to step up and build the world as it should be.

The Obama Foundation outlined the guiding principles behind the center's design in a statement Wednesday.

The Obama Library South Side Community Benefits Agreement Coalition says "low-income, working-, and middle-class communities" will be "directly impacted by the development of the Obama Presidential Center".

"So too, each facade of our four-sided tower will be a little different from the next". We'll have a Museum and Library building, of course, but the campus will also include a place we're calling the "Forum" - a public meeting space where anybody can come together for some local programming, or to gather for larger-scale events in an auditorium, maybe record something in a broadcast studio, or just have a bite to eat.

Plans for the development were submitted Wednesday. "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.

Obama took said he took a hands-on approach in designing the Obama Presidential Center.

"This input has shaped the design, it's challenged us, and it's made our design better".