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Chicago Park District halts Obama Presidential Center-related construction

Chicago Park District halts Obama Presidential Center-related construction

Now, top officials of the Obama Foundation are beginning to respond to environmental impact lawsuits.

We have been following the saga of the construction of the Barack Obama Presidential Center, which has been denounced by professors at the University of Chicago and faces an environmental impact lawsuit from local citizen groups.
Now, it appears construction has been halted (at least temporarily) over trees.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported in August that the park district was cutting down trees in Jackson Park despite a federal lawsuit, city and federal approvals pending, and a pledge from the Obama Foundation CEO to keep trees intact until the permitting process is complete.

Given the controversy over the tree cutting and federal agencies becoming more active in reviews, the city at the beginning of September decided to slow down construction of a new track field – needed because the proposed Obama Center will be taking over land where an existing field is located.

The city decision to stop the work came after a Sept. 11 meeting with the National Park Service and the Federal Highway Administration.

Local Chicago affiliate CBS 2’s Political Reporter Derrick Blakley indicated that City Hall promised federal law was being followed as it chopped down about 40 Jackson Park trees to make room for the new athletic field; however, the federal officials who have oversight are not sure about that determination. Representatives of two local groups, Friends of the Park and Protect Our Parks, are pressing to make the halt permanent.

“I think the city often blows it by moving too quickly,” stated Juanita Irizarry from Friends of the Parks.

Critics compare it to Mayor Daley’s bulldozing of Meigs Field, another city action hastily performed without federal approval.

“I believe the city has misrepresented the facts on every issue that’s come to public attention,” said Herbert Caplan from Protect Our Parks.

Caplan and Protect Our Parks is suing to stop the project.

I suspect the citizen activists are going to be angry by two of Rahm Emanuel’s final moves as Chicago’s mayor, either, as it relates to the presidential center: Paying $10 for a 99-year pact and closing a key street in the area.

City Hall officials involved in the negotiations with the Obama Presidential Foundation briefed reporters on Tuesday with the actual written legislation not available because it was still being finalized.

One of the ordinances includes the agreements between the foundation and the city, which includes the foundation paying the city $10 for the 99-year pact; the other ordinance clears the legal way to plow under Cornell Drive from 59th Street to Hayes Drive to be reconfigured as green space on the Obama campus. The closing of Cornell has been controversial.

The situation has gotten serious enough that for the first time, top officials of the Obama Foundation have responded to the lawsuit that is threatening to kill the Obama Presidential Center project.

David Simas, chief executive of the foundation, pointed to two ordinances introduced in the City Council on Tuesday stipulating, among other things, that ownership of the center will be transferred to the city once it is built.

“While this will be built with private funds, at the end of the construction, the building will be turned over to the city of Chicago and its people,” Simas said. “The city will own the building, the Obama Foundation will not. … These amenities will be amenities of the people and for the people of Chicago.”

Simas’ statement came just two days before the lawsuit is scheduled for another court hearing before federal Judge Robert Blakey.

In fact, Illinois tax-payers are going to be contributing to the center as well.

I will say this: While I have a lot to complain about in California, at least I can drive up easily to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and experience what real “presidentin'” looked like! Chicago residents have my deepest sympathy.

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Comments

Chicago Park District halts Obama Presidential Center-related construction

“You didn’t can’t build that!”

legacyrepublican | September 19, 2018 at 8:29 pm

It frightens me to think of the environmental damage if just one drop the crap going into that library were to leak into the Great Lakes.

Whatever happened to the William Jefferson Clinton Adult Bookstore idea?

I wonder if anyone submitted a picture of the Obama shrine which resembled the Borg cube. I never bought into the idea that there wasn’t an echelon of some sort in the Collective. There ALWAYS is.

I work in Hyde Park; I used to commute down Cornell Drive daily. It’s a thoroughfare that connects South Lake Shore Drive to Stony Island Boulevard and thence to the Skyway and Indiana (map it, you’ll see). It’s how a LOT of people go from downtown to the south and vice versa, and how a lot of people get to Hyde Park and the University of Chicago. Blocking it at 59th street also cuts off the eastern end of the Midway — further disruption.

It’s going to be a Charlie-Fox traffic snafu.

A lot of this could have been avoided if the Obama Library been located at the old South Works steel plant (83rd and South Shore, map it). Enormous amount of open space begging to be completely rehabilitated, which the Library could have done. It’s right on the lake and would have been spectacular when done. Alternately they could have taken on the old South Shore Country Club site; that also would have been gorgeous.

The current plan is stupid, and cutting Cornell Drive is even worse.

The concept is about as hideous as O’Bama. Hell, why not create a universal Obama International University of Ignorance, instead.

Too bad they couldn’t find a long abandoned ladies room to house this monumental abortion of a presidency.

A monstrosity.
Completely revolting, so I suppose a true representation of his audacious and horrendous presidency.

    V.Lombardi in reply to lc. | September 20, 2018 at 4:56 am

    Monstrosity is the perfect word. It will be an object of ridicule for many years, as Chicago decays.

Racists. 😉

Oh the irony of being halted by a regulatory state that Obama helped create.

Like our Boy President, this design is bland yet awkwardly out of place pretty much anywhere in the world. It bears zero connection to the cultural and natural history of its surroundings, much less the West. One could imagine being the backdrop of an early-70s dystopian future movie set in Mayan ruins. Come to think of it, this design is spot-on.

When you get a chance, compare the image used in this article with the over-the-top spectacle and exuberance of the 1892 Columbian Exposition’s Admin Building that once stood on this site. You’ll see what I mean by bland and awkward when you feel oddly disappointed by the new design. https://imgur.com/pJnFeqg

That has to be one of the ugliest buildings anybody ever designed. It’s more of an Obamanation than the Erection on the Arkansas. What is it with these Democrat Presidents?

    RITaxpayer in reply to txvet2. | September 20, 2018 at 4:26 am

    It will look better when they shingle over the plywood.

    V.Lombardi in reply to txvet2. | September 20, 2018 at 5:03 am

    It will be one of the ten top ugliest buildings in the USA for a long time. It gives an everlasting window into the person. He chose the designer as he chose his cabinet.

“While this will be built with private funds, at the end of the construction, the building will be turned over to the city of Chicago and its people,” Simas said. “The city will own the building, the Obama Foundation will not.

Meaning the local taxpayers will be on the hook for maintenance and operating costs.

Why not build a Kenyan mud hut as the “library”, as a testament to such an advanced culture.

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