Chicago City Council approves Obama Presidential Center

Chicago City Council approves Obama Presidential Center
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Chicago’s City Council voted on Wednesday to approve the construction of the Obama Presidential Center in the South Side of Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The 47-1 vote means the Obama Foundation can now take the next step in the construction process, seeking federal reviews.

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A federal review is needed because Jackson Park, the planned site of the center, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Obama Foundation still needs to secure a long-term contract to lease the park from the city, according to the Tribune.

Following the vote, former President Obama tweeted that he and Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama officiated Chicago wedding: report Michelle Obama book tour fetching steep ticket prices Michelle Obama warns against voter apathy in new PSA MORE are "grateful to Chicagoans and the Chicago City Council."

The Obamas have said they selected Jackson Park as the location for the center because of its location and the benefits the center could bring to the struggling South Side neighborhoods.

However, some residents have voiced concerns about increased traffic, the use of a public park for the project and fears that the center could lead their neighborhoods to be gentrified.

The one person who voted against the measure, Alderman David Moore who represents a South Side ward, said he could not support the development because it would require roughly $175 million in city infrastructure improvements, for which the source of funding is unclear.  

The center is expected to cost more than $500 million. The Obama Foundation is expected to tap into the Obamas’ donor network to privately finance the project, according to the Tribune.

Supporters say the center could bring new investment to the neighborhoods that create jobs and new opportunities for residents.

-Updated 4:50 p.m.