$500m Obama centre unveiled

The Obama Foundation on Wednesday unveiled the conceptual design for the planned $500million Obama Presidential Centre in Chicago’s Jackson Park.

A museum, a forum and a library, as well as outdoor gathering areas, will be established in the 200,000-square-foot complex that will be near a lagoon that runs into Lake Michigan.

The Obama Foundation said the centre named after former President Barack Obama will help bring jobs and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors.

The centre will also serve as the headquarters for the Obama Foundation.

“The Obamas want to create a safe, warm, inviting place that brings people in, teaches them something new and inspires them to create change in their own communities. The center will be a place for doing, not just looking or listening,” Obama Foundation Chairman Marty Nesbitt said.

“The place we are developing will be integrally a part of Jackson Park. Our team’s approach is to weave the project into the park and use the centre to unlock the full potential of the park and engage the community in the foundation’s work.”

The Chicago Tribune reported the design seems to call for the closing of Cornell Drive, a major thoroughfare that runs through Jackson Park used by thousands of drivers every day to connect to other major roads.

Michelle Obama, who was born in Chicago, on Wednesday said she was “excited by the potential” of the centre.

“Barack and I will continue to champion the issues close to our hearts, including girls’ education,” she wrote.

The Obama Presidential Centre is expected to cost $500 million and should be complete by 2021.

“More than a building or museum, the Obama Presidential Centre will be a living, working centre for engagement — an ongoing project for the community and world to shape what it means to be an active citizen in the 21st century,” the Obama Foundation said in a statement.


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