After it was determined that Chicago’s Southside would be home to Barack Obama’s Presidential Library, the choice came between two parks. The Chicago Tribune has announced that Jackson Park will be the home for the guaranteed tourist attraction.
The two options were Jackson Park, which is a throw away from the Museum of Science of Industry and Lake Shore Drive and Washington Park, which is closer to the University of Chicago’s campus and was the center of Chicago’s failed 2016 Olympic bid.
Residents of the city’s Southside expressed a wide array of mixed reactions following the announcement, which leaked a week earlier than expected. Residents from the area around Washington Park were disappointed, viewing this as their second attempt to add to the area’s economy and place new business on multiple vacant lots. Other residents have concerns about gentrification that may occur in Jackson Park’s surrounding areas.
“Residents need to buckle down and figure out how to stay here,” said Mattie Butler, executive director of the Woodlawn East Community and Neighbors group.
Another concern comes from those that feel that the library will damage the landscape and deviate the historic park away from its original purpose.
The University of Chicago reportedly conducted a study that predicts building the library could result in $31 million in retail development in nearby areas through the introduction of more than 30 restaurants, 11 stores, a hotel and upgrades to nearby Metra train stations.
Construction wouldn’t start for at least a couple years with a tentative completion date in 2021.
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