Obama Must Find New Home Or Upset Everyone In Neighborhood
It would seem that when it gets right down to the nitty-gritty, former president Obama is not as popular or important as the left would like you to think. Currently a major fight is brewing over the EX-President's selection of a place to build his ridiculous “no book presidential library”. Currently, the organization known as the Obama Foundation is planning on placing Obama's latest boondoggle on the American People smack in the middle of a Historical Park on the south-side of Chicago.
The organization released plans last week for the presidential center, But those plans were meant with a lot less enthusiasm than was expected. First the plans call for the “library”to be built in Chicago’s Historic Jackson Park. However, already a battle has started over that location and moves are underway to stop the construction of the monument to the Obama presidency from being built there. In addition, there is a strong chance that the construction project hits a roadblock when it seeks federal approval.
The compound, that was supposed to be a Presidential Library has suddenly exploded into what many are calling “an ugly, 20-acre private “center.” The result is that project has left many environmentalists and historians unhappy with the Foundation’s attempt to swoop in and take over a national historic place.
The Foundation originally agreed to have the presidental library overseen by the National Archives since it was being placed on public lands. Now, that is no longer in the agreement, as a result, some are balking at the change in plans.
Charles Birnbaum, president and founder of D.C.-based nonprofit, the Cultural Landscape Foundation, told the Washington Examiner in a written statement Saturday: “Here’s our bottom line. If the Obama Foundation wishes to construct this center on Chicago’s South Side, that’s fine, but not on parkland held in public trust. The University of Chicago, which orchestrated the winning bid for the project, has plenty of land on the South Side that they could and should use. Instead, they’ve been adamant since day one that they must have historic public parkland for the purpose.”
Mr. Birnbaum’s foundation is not alone in this fight. They are currently working with several other groups to stop construction on the library including: Friends of the Parks, Jackson Park Watch, Openlands, National Association for Olmsted Parks, Save the Midway, Landmarks Illinois, and Preservation Chicago, all of whom have raised concerns about the project. In addition, 200 faculty members from Obama’s former employer, the University of Chicago, have issued a formal letter stating their opposition to the presidential center being built at this location.
Before construction can begin, the center’s proposal must get approval from the Chicago planning department and the city council. Something that no one sees as a problem, since Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel has the final say in that process. Birnbaum told the media: “If past is prologue, municipal officials will rubber-stamp their approvals.”
But the compound also needs Federal approval to begin, and that process will be more complicated, which is where Birnbaum’s argument becomes especially relevant. The Obama Foundation will have to get approval from the Environmental Protection Agency under the National Environmental Policy Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. A spokesperson for Birnbaum’s group said it is difficult to predict how President Trump’s appointees at the EPA will handle their request.
The first verification process will determine if the Obama Presidential Center would have “adverse effects” on Jackson Park. The State Historic Preservation Office will ask “official consulting parties” to provide opinions. Mr. Birnbaum Explained it this way:
“This will play out over 2018 and involve several meetings of the ‘official consulting parties’ along with extensive written input from those parties. A determination could be made that this are no adverse effects and the OPC would proceed (highly unlikely); a determination could be made that there are adverse effects and a process of mitigation could be developed and approved by all of the consulting parties in a formal Memorandum of Agreement (MOA); a determination could be made that there are adverse effects, but the consulting parties don’t agree on mitigation, then this would likely end in litigation.”
The fact is that this is not just any open area. According to the Landscape Foundation, Jackson Park and the surrounding parklands are quintessential examples of historic property. “This isn’t just any public open space; this is historic parkland originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., and Calvert Vaux (of New York’s Central Park fame).” The park system was designed in 1871, and Olmsted wrote in 1895 that the Museum of Science and Industry was intended to be the only “dominating object of interest” in the park.
This is not the first attempt at destroying the legacy of the park, in 2012, under then President Obama, Jackson Park was at the center of another Section 106 compliance review. But at that time, officials decided it should not be touched. The commissions report stated:
“As currently designed, the park retains a great deal of its integrity. While some of the original features have been modified, or removed, the remaining defining characteristics such as the overall plan … depicted on the 1905 map must be respected.”
Meanwhile, Obama’s team last week released more information about the center it hopes to open soon. Jackson Park, is a 500-acre park on Chicago’s South Side next to the University of Chicago. It is the home of the Museum of Science and Industry, and is located near Lake Michigan and the eastern edge of the university campus. The location is also near Woodlawn, a low-income black neighborhood.
This week, the Obama Foundation shared dozens of changes to its proposal, These included diagrams which show several road closures within the park, a revamping of the picturesque landscaping, and a newly designed main building, many have dubbed “Obama’s Ivory Tower”, would stretch 23 stories high at 235 feet tall dwarfing the main feature of the park, The world famous Museum of Science and Industry. As you can see from this model, the massive project looks more like an ancient Egyptian Tribute City for a dead Pharaoh than a Presidential Library.
Source: CSC MediaGroup USA