Jackson Park Formally Announced as Location for Obama Presidential Center

Several community leaders were on hand to welcome the addition of the Obama Presidential Center to Jackson Park

City officials and the Obama Foundation formally announced Jackson Park as the location for the Obama Presidential Center to be built Wednesday.

"It's going to take us 12/18 months for the design ... 2021, (to) open our doors," said Marty Nesbitt of the Obama Foundation.

Two South Side parks had been vying for the economic impact that comes with a presidential library. City officials say communities around both Jackson Park and Washington Park and all of the South Side willl benefit from the decision. The competition between the areas stemmed from the many improvements that come along with the library debut. Areas are expected to see changes from sidewalks to coffee shops in the chosen area over the next five years, officials said.

“There are always going to be worries. You have to understand we are making improvements,” said Ald. Leslie Hairston.

Watchdog group Friends of the Parks released a statement with its concerns, but despite its disappointment, the group says it will not sue.

“Friends of the Parks analysis suggests that there is no realistic legal remedy at this time to protect this public open space from this development,” Executive Director Juanita Irizarry said in a statement.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel welcomed the news that group didn't plan to sue. “You don’t want to be tangled up in courts,” he said.

Although excited for the new addition, some locals are concerned about the cost of the homes becoming too expensive.

“We don’t know how this is going to affect us yet. A lot of times, they don’t tell you the whole deal (and) at the last minute, you’re gone. We’ll have to just wait and see,” said Jackson Park resident DeloresChatman.

The Barack Obama Foundation recently announced that the New York architects behind the nearby University of Chicago's Logan Center for the Arts would partner with a Chicago firm in designing the center.

The library will be home to Obama's archives and a museum about his presidency, and is expected to be completed in 2020 or 2021.

The cost of the library is estimated at $500 million dollars.

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