Obama’s presidential library has been on hold for a few years because activists in Chicago claimed it was going to ruin access to a public park.
The project is now back on track however and they expect to begin construction in the fall of 2021.
The cost has also gone up and the current estimate is $700 million.
FOX News reports:
Obama’s presidential library estimated to cost nearly $700M
The cost of former President Obama’s library in Chicago will be a bit heftier than initially anticipated.
Valerie Jarrett, president of The Obama Foundation, said during an interview with The Economic Club of Chicago last week that the informal presidential library will cost slightly “less than” $700 million – $200 million more than an initial estimate of $500 million.
“We are in the process of raising the capital for the building,” Jarrett said during the June 4 interview, adding that the Obama Foundation has raised nearly $900 million so far for The Obama Presidential Center and wants to raise an additional $400 million from Chicago.
Excess funds will go toward the foundation’s “program” and to “create an endowment,” the former Obama adviser said.
The library is expected to generate $3.1 billion in revenue, which will benefit local businesses, she continued.
The Guardian recently reported on the controversy surrounding the construction of the center:
But the development, expected to break ground this fall, has not arrived without controversy. Over the last six years, the Obama Foundation, which will fund the OPC, and the city of Chicago have courted scrutiny from two groups: park preservationists upset at a private development being built on public land, and community organizers who fear that low-income Black neighbors will be displaced by rising rents and land speculation.
Since 2018, Protect Our Parks has waged legal battles to prevent the park’s construction in Jackson Park, the second largest park on the South Side and home to more than 250 species of birds. The non-profit maintains that the development could be built at an alternative site about two miles from Jackson Park with minimal damage to the environment.
“This is a world-class park put together by Frederick Law Olmsted … and now somebody wants to gut it when, in fact, they can put it in a perfectly serviceable [location somewhere else],” said Richard Epstein, a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago who represents Protect Our Parks.
Does anyone really believe this project is going to bring in over three billion dollars a year?
The concerns of Chicago residents who are against the idea are more grounded in reality.