Obama Center Gets Chicago Plan Commission Approval

Craig Dellimore
May 17, 2018 - 5:20 pm

Obama Foundation

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Chicago Plan Commission has unanimously approved plans for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, but the project has more panels to clear as it faces some community opposition.

The commission took its vote Thursday evening, WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, over the objections of some activists. Among the concerns: The center honoring Chicago's Barack Obama, the 44th U.S. president, will gentrify the South Side neighborhood where it would be built, thus displacing poorer residents.

The Emanuel Administration supports the project as a major investment that will spur tourism and economic development.

The plans next go before the Chicago City Council's Zoning Committee and, if successful there, the full council.

A federal lawsuit filed earlier this week argues the Obama Center should not be allowed on public land because it's not a true presidential library. Emanuel says opponents' strategy in the suit hinges on the fact that digital records -- not physical documents -- would be stored at the Chicago facility. He says that's a ridiculous argument.