Former President Obama Just Unveiled Plans for His South Chicago Presidential Center
- Author: Leroy Wright May 06, 2017,
May 06, 2017, 18:44
Built out of stone and designed with multiple windows, the buildings will create a campus that will sprawl around 200,000 to 225,000 square feet with connections below ground and above ground via the structures' rooftops, according to the foundation.
The northern edge of the South Shore neighborhood abuts Jackson Park, which will be the site of the presidential center. To that end, Obama said that he and his wife will donate $2 million help fund the Chicago summer jobs program, a youth program that aims to provide job training and summer work for at-risk youth.
As a Chicago resident and former IL senator, the city holds a special place in the former president's heart.
Watch the former president's full unveiling of plans for his presidential center here. Showing off the designs, President Obama said, "What we wanted was something that was alive and that was a hub for activity for the community and for the city and for the country".
Former President Barack Obama greets guests after moderating a roundtable discussion at the South Shore Cultural Center about the Obama Presidential Center, which is scheduled to be built in nearby Jackson Park, on May 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who once served as Obama's chief of staff, praised the design for "enhancing the historic landscape of Jackson Park as originally envisioned by Frederick Olmsted". The roofs of the forum and library buildings will be covered with plants in order create new park land.
To its south would be the forum, which will house an auditorium, restaurant and public garden, and the library, which will contain a trove of documents, emails, photos and artifacts from Obama's eight years in office.
Private donations will fund the institution and construction could take four years, though Obama said programming could begin as soon as this year. Fundraising is ongoing, and the project is expected to cost around $500 million. However, Obama said that the traffic issue can be resolved and that the bigger plan would transform the South Side neighborhood.
Michelle also expressed her excitement on social media in a post, and wrote: "Excited by the potential of the Obama Pres. Center".