Models for Obama Presidential Center Released

Obama Presidential Center

Obama Foundation YouTube

"When I was younger, there was a time I dreamed of being an architect", said Barack Obama in revealing the new crowdsourced plans.

"We are concerned that rather than becoming a bold vision for urban living in the future it will soon become an object-lesson in the mistakes of the past", the letter concludes.

According to a statement from the Obama Foundation, the parking facility will be located between the center's library building and proposed athletic center, with garage entry and exit for 400-450 cars on the east side of Stony Island Avenue.

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

The letter hammered the Obama Foundation's plans to build a 450-space parking lot, saying that it is "socially regressive" because it privileges people who can afford to have a auto.

The Obamas hope that the center will be a new landmark and an economic engine for Chicago, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors, creating thousands of new jobs on the city's south side where they lived and worked for years.

The Obama Foundation has given in to criticism, making a change to its plans. The design includes three buildings: a museum, library and forum.

The Obama Presidential Center's parking garage will go underground, instead of on the Frederick Olmsted-designed Midway Plaisance as drafted. Parking facilities, a children's play area and an athletics centre are also included in the masterplan. Another two-story building will house a library and both buildings will be covered with accessible parkland on the rooftops.

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.

This is not to say that the economic needs of the neighborhoods around Jackson Park should be ignored.

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