Obama Foundation files plans for Obama Presidential Center

University Professors Sign Letter in Support of Obama Center Benefits Agreement

Wednesday morning, the Obama Foundation submitted its development plans for former President Obama's presidential library in Chicago.

Finally, the letter raises concerns about the Obama Center's cost to taxpayers.

The centre will split into three main buildings: a library and a forum - both partially buried - and a stone-clad "landmark" tower that will host a museum.

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However, the Obama Foundation announced that the proposed site on designated historic parkland would not be administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and would not function as a presidential library housing records, manuscripts, and papers from the Obama White House.

"While we don't expect everyone to agree with every element of the plan, we look forward to working with people across the community and the city to make the most of the opportunity to create a global destination that will showcase the South Side to the world", a spokesperson for the Obama Foundation said.

In a letter signed by scores of faculty members, the professors argue that while they broadly "support the idea of establishing the Obama Center in our neighborhood", they also share many concerns expressed by local community groups about the existing proposal. "Because the current plans place the Center next to the Museum of Science and Industry and across the street from the University of Chicago campus, there is no available adjacent land in which to start a new business, set up a new café or restaurant, [or] bring another cultural center to the neighborhood".

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Despite such claims, a coalition of eight community groups on the South Side is demanding the Obama Foundation sign an agreement guaranteeing neighborhood involvement in the development and maintenance of the Obama Center.

A parking lot, of course, privileges cars and those who can afford them. Obama once wanted to be an architect, in 2011 he said, "When I was younger, there was a time I dreamed of being an architect".

The Obama Center wasted taxpayer money.

. The required widening of Lake Shore Drive alone is estimated to be over $100 million.

The letter closes with a blistering criticism of the project's estimated cost, which the professors argue will easily exceed $100 million and fall exclusively on the shoulders of the taxpayer. We are concerned that these are not the best ways to use public funds to invest in the future of Chicago.

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