Barack Obama was excited to reveal his plans for his Obama Presidential Center in Chicago this month. However, this move has just backfired on him hard, as the people of Chicago have made it clear they want nothing to do with this center.
The Washington Times reported that Chicagoans have widely slammed Obama’s planned library, calling it an “ugly waste of taxpayer resources” and a “dangerous precedent” for the preservation of historic public parklands. Letters sent to the Chicago Tribune over the past few weeks have overwhelmingly panned the library, which will consume nearly 20 acres from historic Jackson Park and cost taxpayers $100 million in renovations to the surrounding area.
In a January 26 letter, Illinois resident John Deal called the egg-shaped main tower and surrounding buildings “garish monstrosities that ruin the esthetics of the surrounding parkland stolen from the taxpaying public.”
“Does anyone else think the artist’s rendering of the proposed Obama Presidential Centercampus is ugly?” Deal asked.
Chicago resident Jerry Bruti expressed outrage that the library is “taking valuable and irreplaceable park land that belongs to all the people of Chicago” in order to erect an “empty monumental edifice.”
“My suggestion: Build the Obama Presidential Center on vacant land that is not already dedicated as parkland, perhaps in an area that needs rejuvenation; and while at it, maybe spend those millions of dollars to build and endow a state-of-the-art school, library, affordable housing or other facility that the people of Chicago really need and can use to improve their quality of life,” Bruti wrote in the letter published January 28.
Many have pointed out that Jackson Park, part of Chicago’s public park system, was originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the landscape architects behind New York’s famed Central Park. Two-hundred professors at the University of Chicago, where Obama worked for over a decade, signed an open letter earlier this month denouncing the plans for the library as “socially regressive.”
These professors argued that the Jackson Park location, which is right on the lakefront, does little to rejuvenate Chicago’s economically underserved neighborhoods.
“We are concerned that these are not the best ways to use public funds to invest in the future of Chicago,” the professors wrote.
Chicago is Obama’s hometown, and the locals there have long been extremely loyal to him. That’s why it must have come as such a crushing blow to him when they turned on him so dramatically. We’re glad that the people of Chicago are finally seeing Obama as the selfish man that he is!