Construction Begins on Obama Presidential Center in Chicago

by Kristin Harlow

CHICAGO — A groundbreaking ceremony took place yesterday, Sept. 28, for the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) in Chicago’s Jackson Park, which is located on the city’s South Side.

“We chose this location for a few pretty good reasons,” said Obama during the ceremony. “It’s close to where Michelle grew up and where I started my political career. It’s surrounded by vibrant neighborhoods and a community where we can help make a difference.”

The center will support thousands of jobs during and after construction. It is expected to bring as many as 750,000 visitors to the area each year, according to Obama.

In addition to the center, plans call for the creation of a community recreation center and another branch of the Chicago Public Library.

Construction costs are estimated at nearly $500 million, according to the OPC website. The Obama Foundation will bear 100 percent of the costs to construct and maintain the grounds and structures within the OPC site, turning over ownership to the city upon completion. To leverage the private investment in the area, the city plans to invest in infrastructure improvements throughout the South Side.

An economic impact study concluded that the site will have a $3.1 billion impact on the area. Lakeside Alliance, a joint venture of five construction firms, is serving as construction manager. Construction is anticipated to take four years.

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