Report: Obama Library Would Cost Taxpayers $175 Million

Former President Barack Obama points out features of the proposed Obama Presidential Center, which is scheduled to be built in nearby Jackson Park, during a gathering at the South Shore Cultural Center on May 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Presidential Center design envisions three buildings, a museum, library and …
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City officials announced Friday that the estimated cost for the proposed Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, Illinois, would cost taxpayers $175 million.

The Chicago Tribune reported that it was the first time city officials put out a specific dollar amount of what the project would cost the public.

“These proposed investments are intended to make the (center) and surrounding Jackson Park a world-class destination on par with Chicago’s Museum Campus,” Chicago’s Department of Transportation (CDOT) told the Tribune.

The taxpayer-funded dollars would go toward constructing four to five additional underpasses and widening roads surrounding the center.

City officials say they intend to explore “all potential options” for funding, including funding from the state of Illinois.

Officials released the information to the public ahead of a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, where Obama Foundation representatives are expected to release the plans for the presidential center.

CDOT spokesman Michael Claffey said that presidential libraries often get state financing toward infrastructure, citing the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield as one example of a state-funded presidential library. The library received an estimated $100 million in funding.

Not everyone is on board with the project. In January, more than 100 University of Chicago professors and neighborhood activists signed a letter saying the center would not benefit the surrounding community.

The activists noted that there would be no land available to develop new restaurants or businesses because the center would be located near the University of Chicago and an existing museum.

The protests from the community came after the Obama Foundation released its blueprint for the proposed presidential center. Around the same time, Obama released images of the proposed presidential center showing a white, modern-looking building surrounded by parkland.

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