UPDATED 7:48 AM PT — Tues. May 15, 2018
A non-profit group in Chicago is suing to block the construction of the Obama Presidential Center.
Protect Our Parks Incorporated filed a federal lawsuit Monday in an attempt to block the center from being built in Jackson Park, which is located on the south side of Chicago.
The group also wants to bar the city from giving control of the center’s site to the Obama Foundation, who they claim have deceived Chicago residents.
The non-profit is accusing organizers from Obama’s group of pulling a bait-and-switch on Chicago residents by going back on their promise to include a presidential library in the center.
Another organization called Friends of the Parks spoke out against the choice to locate the sprawling structure on public land when there is ample vacant space in the surrounding city.
The center has been slated to take up a 19-acre plot of the historic park.
To put that in perspective, it will occupy approximately five city blocks worth of public land and Obama’s group wants more.
The lawsuit comes ahead of a Thursday meeting of the Chicago Plan Commission to discuss the Obama foundation’s proposal to alter the boundaries of the center — a move that will drive up the price of construction and inconvenience Chicago workers by closing a busy roadway.
If the Obama Foundation gets its way, the center is expected to open in 2021 to the dismay of Chicago park lovers as well as taxpayers who are set to foot the bill for the estimated $175 million in construction and roadwork that will be needed to accommodate the former president’s passion project.