Obama Presidential Center Dedication Scheduled for Tuesday – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Former President Barack Obama’s presidential center will take one step closer to its brick-and-mortar future next week when the ground is broken after years of reviews, further delays and continued local opposition.
Obama and his wife, Michelle, will join Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in Chicago on Tuesday for a dedication ceremony for the Obama Presidential Center.
“Michelle and I couldn’t be more excited to open the Obama Presidential Center in the community we love,” said the former president, sitting next to his wife, in a video ad shared for the premiere. times with The Associated Press.
The former president in 2016 chose a site in a historic lakeside park on the south side of Chicago to build his presidential library, near where he began his political career, met and married his wife and lived with their family. The former first lady grew up in the South Chicago neighborhood.
But the planning process ran into many problems due to a legal battle with advocates for the park’s preservation and protests from neighborhood activists who feared the planned $ 500 million center would displace black residents.
Chicago’s city council has since approved the neighborhood protections, and a four-year federal review process that was necessary because of its location in Jackson Park – which is on the National Register of Historic Places – was recently completed.
Officials announced in February that construction would begin this year, starting with relocating utility lines followed by actual construction.
“This project reminded us why the south side and the people who live here are so special,” the former first lady said in the video, adding that the effort had reaffirmed for her and her husband that the future of the side south Chicago “is as bright as anywhere.”
Barack Obama described the center as a hub for youth programming and public gatherings that will revive the economy on the south side of the city, parts of which are impoverished, attracting attention, jobs and visitors. Foundation officials estimate that the center will help create around 5,000 jobs, both during and after construction.
The funds will be raised through private donations.
The complex will span 19 acres of the 540-acre Jackson Park and will include a museum, public library branch, sports center, children’s play area, and test kitchen. Obama’s presidential papers will be available in digital form.
The Obama Foundation will also donate up to $ 3.5 million for a public athletics facility in the area, city officials said.
Associated Press writer Sophia Tareen in Chicago contributed to this report.