The former 44th president of the United States has been busy since becoming a private citizen. After designating the location of the facility in Chicago’s South Side, on Tuesday it was revealed the Barack Obama Presidential Center underwent major revisions offering a tweaked version of the project.
Obama’s ambitions for the presidential center faces an uphill battle. The earlier reports indicated that the initial plans could have negatively impacted the landscape of the historic Jackson Park, according to the Chicago Tribune.
This latest development and design change for the tower shows an evolution from the initial plans from May 2017. As stated above by the Tribune report, the tower had been deemed “monolithic” and “pyramid-like.”
The Obama Foundation distributed a video detailing the vision of the center, what its supposed to represent and help achieve. In addition, the former commander in chief said the museum tower means “ascension, hope and what ordinary people have the power to do together.”
The organization on Wednesday will submit the modified construction plans to the Chicago Plan Commission. The end goal is to get the approval and have the center completed by 2021.
Another hurdle that came up in the original plans was an above-ground parking garage. This was scrapped from the designs and could have negatively altered the openness of the several parks. The center will occupy 19.6 acres of land that includes three buildings (the museum tower, a forum building, and a library).
Elsewhere, the Obama video pledged the center would be an economic engine. It estimated the presidential center would help create 5,000 new jobs during construction. After it is inaugurated, 2,500 jobs will be permanent and have an economic impact of $3.1 billion in the first ten years.
As part of this ongoing process, there is a federal review taking place. Moreover, a Fox News analysis confirmed there is substantial opposition from University of Chicago professors opposed to the current proposal.
“But in an open letter published Monday, more than 100 University of Chicago professors and faculty members said they share the concerns of a wide range of neighborhood and activist groups that ‘the Obama Center as currently planned will not provide the promised development or economic benefits to the neighborhoods’ on the South Side of Chicago.”