Obama Foundation submits presidential center plans amid opposition

University Professors Sign Letter in Support of Obama Center Benefits Agreement

The professors are also highly critical of the now-abandoned plan to construct an above-ground parking garage that was meant to utilize parts of Midway Plaisance, protesting that although "public lands are being given away, all the profits from this parking lot will go to the Obama Foundation".

The Obama Presidential Center, near Lake Michigan on the south side of Chicago, will get a taller, slimmer and more transparent museum tower than the previous version revealed a year ago.

The foundation, however, announced Monday that it has opted to drop the plans for an above-ground garage in favor of an underground parking lot, according to the Associated Press. "Overall, this is a socially regressive plan".

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Chuck Grassley also released a statement on Tuesday urging the administration to protect farmers by keeping the deal intact.

Finally, the letter raises concerns about the Obama Center's cost to taxpayers. "We urge the Obama Foundation to explore alternative sites on the South Side that could be developed with more economic benefits, better public transportation, and less cost to taxpayers".

In addition to the aforementioned exterior changes, the new plans also shed some light on other elements of the center.

The centre will split into three main buildings: a library and a forum - both partially buried - and a stone-clad "landmark" tower that will host a museum.

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From the beginning, the plan has been beset by problems: the look and size of the center, the increase in traffic, public transportation, questions about land use, destruction of trees, gentrification, the relocation of ball fields, the threat posed to South Shore Beach, noise from the proposed music venue, the need to widen Lake Shore Drive.

This is not to say that the economic needs of the neighborhoods around Jackson Park should be ignored.

Charles Lipson, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, which sits just blocks away from the center's future location, said Mr. Obama is "indulging himself" by building "a monument along the lakefront, where it will have a lot less positive impact than it could have had elsewhere".

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