Obama Presidential Center’s pre-construction work begins in Jackson Park

Chicago News

CHICAGO — The Obama Presidential Center is moving closer to being built in Chicago’s Jackson Park.

Groundbreaking for the $500 million center is moving one step closer with $200 million from Chicago City Council to do initial foundation work on the site.

Obama Foundation Chairman, Martin Nesbitt, described the vision at Wednesday’s press conference overlooking Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker were among those participating. Pritzker says it’s an investment that pays for itself with good-paying jobs and opportunities. 

“This transformation is, in part, made possible by $174 million of state investment in this project,” Pritzker said.

Eventually, a transformative four-building campus will be a world-class destination for an estimated 700,000 people a year. But even more important, the effort generating good-paying jobs and careers for people in the neighborhood surrounding Jackson Park.

The Barack Obama Presidential Center was originally slated to be complete this year, but a series of lawsuits delaying the project.  

Among those trying to stop the plan was the “Protect Our Parks” group, arguing unsuccessfully that the 19.3 acre site violates the public trust doctrine governing public land.

The Obama Foundation, aiming to raise up to $1 billion to pay for construction costs and the centers endowment.

“We will create more and better greenspace in the footprint and surrounding neighborhoods,” Lightfoot said.

The hope is that groundbreaking will take place sometime this fall.

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