Obama announces Presidential Center to break ground this year

The project will finally get underway in Chicago four years after delays

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Construction on former president Barack Obama’s state-of-the-art presidential center in the South Side of Chicago will break ground this year. 

Obama announced on social media Wednesday that the project will finally get underway four years after delays, Chicago Tribune reports. 

“I’m proud to announce that the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) will officially break ground in 2021,” Obama announced on Twitter on Wednesday. “Our hope is that the center will breathe new life into historic Jackson Park while delivering jobs, growth, and much more to the South Side,” he continued. “Let’s get to work.”

Read More: Obama and Chicago officials address the community as plans are finalized for presidential center

Obama previously stated that he wants the center to be “meaningful and fun,” and have a significant impact on the community, theGRIO reported. 

“Twenty years from now, 30 years from now, I want young people all across Chicago to look at this center and say, ‘This is a sign that I count and this is a sign that I can change the world,’” he said. “That’s more important than any other legacy I could possibly have.”

The Obama Foundation unveiled plans in 2017 for the $500 million lakefront presidential center in Jackson Park, located along Lake Michigan. The center will reportedly include a museum, Obama Foundation offices, a public library branch, an athletic center, and an outdoor recreation space.

The Obama Foundation announced Wednesday that construction on the center comes after “the conclusion of a robust four-year long federal review process. “

“Getting to this point wouldn’t have been possible without the folks in the community who have been a part of this process along the way,” Obama said in a video message on Feb. 3. “Michelle and I want to thank you for making this project even better — a space for the community, built in partnership with the community. We know that by working together, we can unlock the South Side’s fullest potential — and help set up our city, our country and our world for even better years still to come.”

Read More: Nike donates $5 million for athletic facility at Obama Presidential Center

Mayor Lori Lightfoot noted in a statement that “Chicago is now officially the home of the presidential center for our country’s first Black president.”

“The Obama Presidential Center and nearby capital improvement projects will undoubtedly distinguish our city’s historic South Side as a world-class economic and cultural hub,” she added.

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