The over-the-top Obama Presidential Center currently planned for the South Side of Chicago is causing locals to fight back.
A number of letters to the editor published in the Chicago Tribune have taken aim at the library, which will take over 20 acres in the neighborhood Jackson Park and cost taxpayers more than $100 million in infrastructure improvements. The swanky structure allegedly includes a yoga room, a test kitchen, and wants to position itself as a “community organizing” hub.
One letter, written by John Deal of Dolton, Illinois, slammed the buildings–calling the postmodern structures “garish monstrosities that ruin the esthetics of the surrounding parkland stolen from the taxpaying public.”
“Does anyone else think the artist’s rendering of the proposed Obama Presidential Center campus is ugly?” Mr. Deal wondered.
Another man, Jerry Bruti, who lives in Chicago, was more concerned that the community would lose Jackson Park–a historical epicenter of the community. He claimed the library is “taking valuable and irreplaceable park land that belongs to all the people of Chicago” and suggests that the Obama Library should be build “on vacant land that is not already dedicated as parkland, perhaps in an area that needs rejuvenation.”
Charles Birbaum, president of the DC nonprofit Cultural Landscape Foundation, also took offense at the library being built on a park: “If the Obama Foundation wishes to construct this center on Chicago’s South Side, that’s fine, but not on parkland held in public trust. The University of Chicago, which orchestrated the winning bid for the project, has plenty of land on the South Side that they could and should use. Instead, they’ve been adamant since day one that they must have historic public parkland for the purpose.”
Despite local concerns, it appears the Obama Presidential Center is still full steam ahead–despite being what the Chicago Tribune calls a “dangerous precedent” for taxpayers.