Construction begins Monday on the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago's Jackson Park.
Work on the long-awaited - and at times controversial - library for former President Barack Obama begins with continued roadway improvements as well as construction, the Obama Foundation said in a statement.
"Cornell Drive will begin to be narrowed from six lanes to four lanes between 59th Street and Hayes Drive. At the same time, the easternmost block of South Midway Plaisance, between Stony Island Avenue and Cornell Drive, will be permanently closed," the foundation said.
Crews could be seen beginning to dismantle the Jackson Park football field near East 61st Street and South Stony Island Avenue Monday morning.
“We are incredibly proud to build the Obama Presidential Center here, just a couple of miles away from where President and Mrs. Obama started their journey,” Obama Foundation President Valerie Jarrett said in a statement.
“We are on the heels of the work of so many whose efforts made the election of our first Black president possible. We look forward to delivering on the commitments we’ve made to our neighbors and our fellow Chicagoans as we continue on our road to groundbreaking," Jarrett added.
A ceremonial groundbreaking is being planned for later this fall, the Obama Foundation said.
Obama said in a video posted on social media in February that his "hope is that the center will breathe new life into historic Jackson Park while delivering jobs, growth and much more to the South Side."
"From the beginning, Michelle and I knew there was only one place for the Obama Presidential Center: the South Side of Chicago," Obama said in the video. "It's where I met Michelle. Just a couple of miles from where she grew up."
Obama added that after the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on Chicago's South and West Sides, he said the center will bring jobs and economic opportunity.
The presidential center will put walking trails, playgrounds and bike paths in Chicago's Jackson Park neighborhood, Obama said.
"We know that by working together, we can unlock the South Side's fullest potential and help set up our city, our country and our world for even better years still to come," Obama said in the video.