Study: Obama Presidential Center in Chicago to create 5K jobs during construction
- An Economic Impact Assessment commissioned by the Obama Foundation found that the construction and operations of former President Barack Obama's $500 million Chicago presidential library will create 7,500 jobs, according to NBC Chicago.
- The Barack Obama Presidential Center is expected to generate 5,000 jobs during construction and 2,500 positions once the library is open.
- The library, which will be complete by 2021, is projected to deliver a total 10-year economic impact of $3.1 billion to Chicago, with $2.1 billion staying in the Southside neighborhood where the library will be located. It will be the first presidential library built in an urban setting.
Earlier this month, the Obamas unveiled the final design for the library, which features a 225,000-square-foot, three-building complex in Chicago's Jackson Park. New York City–based architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien were the primary designers for the project, which features a 180-foot-tall museum that will include exhibition space as well as educational and meeting rooms. The library will be in a separate building, and the third structure will include an auditorium, restaurant and public garden.
The project has received an overall positive reception, although some residents have pushed back against plans to close an adjacent road that thousands of commuters use each day. The Obamas said the closure is necessary to create a safe environment for the children who will use the library's park facilities.
Also weighing in but indicating that it would not file a legal challenge to the library's construction has been the Friends of the Parks advocacy group. The organization, which was key in driving George Lucas's $400 million Museum of Narrative Art out of Chicago, said the presidential library should not be built in a park but added that it hasn’t yet reviewed the design.
Even though this latest report identifies the economic benefit to be gained from the project, activists in the low-income African-American neighborhood will most likely continue to express their concerns about gentrification, a trend that has already begun in the neighborhood.
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