Obama doesn’t care what the little folk think.
We have covered the tribulations related to Obama’s plans to build his ‘Presidential Center’ in the historic Jackson Park area of Chicago, including demands by local citizens for an environmental assessment.
Obama finally broke ground on the center during a ceremony this Tuesday.
More than four years after leaving office, Barack Obama broke ground on Tuesday on his presidential center on the South Side of Chicago, a legacy project that has been bogged down by a lengthy discord over its use of a public park and its potential impact on a historically neglected part of the city.
In an hourlong ceremony that was scaled down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Obama and Michelle Obama, the former first lady, scooped up dirt with commemorative shovels at the 19-acre site in Jackson Park, near the shores of Lake Michigan.
Joining the Obamas for the groundbreaking, which was streamed online, were Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago.
“This day has been a long time coming,” Mr. Obama said. “The pandemic had other plans, so we’re keeping this small for now.”
Biden appeared in video, and several other Democratic partly leaders were there to celebrate. Giving the recent failures of Biden, the celebration seems appropriately devoid of any meaningful sentiment or lasting achievement to highlight.
Before the couple addressed the public, Obama’s former vice president and current Commander-in-Chief Joe Biden gave a shoutout to Chicago through a videotaped message.
Recalling Obama’s first presidential election victory party in Grant Park in 2008, Biden said, ”Hope and change are not just slogans and expectations. Hope and change is an ethos, a conviction. And that’s what today represents: It’s not just breaking ground on a new building. It’s breaking ground on the very idea of America as a place of possibility.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot kicked off the in-person remarks, celebrating what she said was the “transformative investment” of the presidential center.
Indeed, locals still haven’t warmed up to the project. Obama had to defend the construction just ahead of the opening ceremony.
In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America on the eve of the groundbreaking, Obama dismissed the criticism of his legacy project, including multiple legal attempts to block construction.
“The overwhelming majority of the community has been not just okay with it, but are hugely enthusiastic about it,” Obama said.
“The truth is, any time you do a big project, unless you’re in the middle of a field somewhere, you know, and it’s on private property, there’s always going to be some people who say, ‘Well, but we don’t want change. We’re worried about it. We don’t know how it’s going to turn out,’” Obama said.
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