New Renderings of Chicago's Obama Library Released

Former President Barack Obama and wife Michelle

The Obama Presidential Center will include a 235-foot tall museum building, a forum building intended for community programming, a library building, a community athletic center and an outdoor plaza, according to a release from the Obama Foundation. The campus will be built in the historic South Side Jackson Park. The former First Lady shared several sketches and a photo of Barack Obama looking at a diorama of the upcoming space, which will be in Chicago's South Side neighborhood.

The letter hammered the Obama Foundation's plans to build a 450-space parking lot, saying that it is "socially regressive" because it privileges people who can afford to have a vehicle.

In an email Wednesday morning from the Obama Foundation and signed by "Barack", the former president continued to make his case for the campus, despite continued criticism by locals, including almost 200 faculty at the University of Chicago- which is adjacent to the anticipated site of the Center-who panned the plans as "socially regressive" in an open letter.

Here's the most important thing: Michelle and I want this Center to be more than a building or a museum. That's the most vital aspect of the Obama Presidential Center - creating spaces for people to connect and collaborate, to take home a piece of what you've learned together.

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The foundation released a video Tuesday night, in which Obama made numerous same comments repeated in the email, and called his Center an example of "what ordinary people have the power to do together".

Its goals are to provide opportunities for civic engagement, enhance public safety in an around the park, and bring jobs and economic opportunity to Chicago's South Side.

The statements were made ahead of the Foundation's formal submission of its plans to the Chicago Plan Commission on Wednesday, with the goal of gaining approval by the spring, breaking ground this year, and opening in 2021.

"So too, each facade of our four-sided tower will be a little different from the next".

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In addition to concerns about diminishing parkland, the letter suggests that building the Obama Center at the Jackson Park site is unlikely to spark economic investment in the surrounding area, which already includes the Museum of Science of Industry and the University.

Plans for the development were submitted Wednesday.

"From community meetings, to online surveys, we've heard from literally thousands of people about their hopes for the center", he said.

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