Chicago (IL), .- A federal judge authorized on Tuesday the beginning of the construction in the south of Chicago (Illinois) of the Presidential Center Obama that will remember the two periods as US ruler of Barack Obama, thus dismissing a lawsuit filed by environmentalists .
The decision of magistrate John Blackey met after a hearing in which he heard arguments from the group Protect Our Parks, as well as the lawyers of the Mayor’s Office.
The historic center, a library and museum, will occupy 19.3 acres (7,810 square meters) of Jackson Park, which were ceded by the Mayor’s Office.
Environmentalists argued that both former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former chief of Obama’s cabinet and principal driver of the construction of the center, and the city’s Park District, had no authority to grant the use of public lands to private projects.
Environmentalists also argued that their constitutional rights would be violated if their tax dollars were allowed to be used to build a building where the former president’s political interests could be promoted.
But by not dismissing the suit on February 19, the judge held that the claim was based on speculation, and that “this court declines the invitation to forecast the future,” he wrote then.
At today’s hearing, the plaintiffs’ attorney, Mark Roth, said that by granting the land the City Hall did not evaluate other possible locations, and allowed the Obama Foundation to dictate where it wanted to build.
But defense attorney, Michael Scodro, responded that this Foundation submitted an application to set up the center in Jackson Park, in the heart of the African-American community.
“The facts are clear, everyone had their day in court and there is no reason to delay the construction, this case is dismissed,” Judge Blakey ruled after hearing the arguments.
The Obama Foundation still needs to finalize a process of federal review of the project before placing the cornerstone of the work, with an investment of 500 million dollars, but the decision of the judge eliminated the last great obstacle.
The project has since 2017 with the plans drawn up by the Tod Williams Billie Tsien studios in New York and the Interactive Design in Chicago.
The library and museum will collect all kinds of documents and materials from Obama’s passage through the White House; It will host interactive exhibitions and collect “the spirit of a movement” to “inspire a new generation of active citizens,” according to the Obama Foundation.
Once the construction is completed, the Foundation will transfer the library and the museum to the Administration of National Archives and Records, which will manage them together with 13 other presidential libraries (EFEUSA).