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South Side Chicago residents recently revealed to the Washington Post that the construction of the Obama Presidential Center has led to a significant increase in the neighborhood’s rent, causing the displacement of long-term residents, including many black families.
In September 2021, former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama broke ground on the Obama Presidential Center in the South Side of Chicago. The center, located on a 19-acre lot, will include a public library, playground, community centers, and a museum.
The $500 million project has been largely financed by private donors. The construction, which is still ongoing, is estimated to bring $3.1 billion to the community. In addition, it is predicted to generate another $16.5 million in state and local tax revenue.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Obama told the audience that the center would “give back to Chicago and the South Side in particular.”
“The Obama Presidential Center is our way of repaying some of what this amazing city has given us,” he stated.
Obama Foundation Executive Vice President for Civic Engagement Michael Strautmanis said, “Our hope and intention is that the people who live there now are able to enjoy the center when it comes online.”
Strautmanis claimed that the project created the “opportunity for this to be a success story.”
However, long-term residents say that the center has already started to result in the gentrification of the community.
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