Obama Center Going as Poorly as the Rest of Obama's Legacy

Former President Barack Obama and wife Michelle

Former President Barack Obama and wife Michelle

New plans call for an underground parking garage at the Obama Center site.

The Obamas want the Center to be an "economic engine for Chicago and the South Side", according to the statement.

The Obama Foundation announced Monday afternoon it no longer plans to do this.

The Obama Foundation marked a significant milestone in its plans to build the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, a project it aims to open by 2021.

Back in his community-organizing days, Barack Obama would have been the one fighting to save historic public parks from developers.

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"Any community organizer worthy of the name would have put this museum on the west side of Washington Park, which desperately needs the economic revitalization and already has extensive public transportation in place, as well as easy access to the Dan Ryan [Expressway]", Mr. Lipson said. "I think the faculty of the university would be delighted to help them", said University of Chicago Professor Tom Mitchell. Not only are public lands being given to a private entity but the public will pay to have Cornell Drive closed and Stony Island Avenue and Lake Shore Drive widened. And while community members have anxious that the Obama Presidential Center will take up space in a way that inexorably alters the historic place's character, the new plans assert that the closure of nearby Cornell Drive will create a net gain in total park acreage.

The letter also states that the center will cost Chicago taxpayers "hundreds of millions of dollars".

A spokesperson for the Obama Foundation said the center has earned the support of "thousands of people in our community and across the city who have weighed in at public meetings, online, and in residential meetings around the area". We've reimagined the landscape plans and the recreational spaces. A two-level athletic center includes basketball courts (for playing the president's favorite sport) alongside workout rooms and multipurpose space. This Center is for young people on the South Side and for young people all around the world - the leaders of tomorrow who are ready to step up and build the world as it should be. The foundation has adapted plans after hearing from the community and has committed to projects and programs to improve lives on the Southside.

Member groups include the Black Youth Project 100, the Bronzeville Regional Collective and Southside Together Organizing for Power.

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