The Obama Presidential Center will clear a key hurdle, when the city Council approved to get the legislation is expected Thursday.
The Foundation behind the proposed Obama Presidential Center in Chicago has to pay a preliminary agreement with the city of only $10, to the use of 19.3 acres of city Park space for 99 years, according to a report.
The accord is described in the legislation, which mayor Rahm Emanuel ‘s administration will send to the city Council on Thursday, the Chicago Sun-Times” reported.
If approved, the proposals will bring an estimated $350 million project closer to reality.
According to the agreement, the city, the buildings and the plot, while the Obama Foundation, reported responsible for the center’s care and management, Crain’s Chicago business.
The former President Barack Obama describes the plans for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.
“This is said to be the next step in a process that has been running for years,” planning and development Commissioner David Reifman.
Under the terms of the transaction, the Obama Foundation, it must be able to demonstrate, to cover the cost of construction without taxpayer subsidies, a condition that contrasts with the 11 official museums, in the Parks, all the money of the taxpayers and lease contracts in the eternity.
To offer only in the => the city of Obama-Center for 99 years in Jackson Park for $10 https://t.co/JwSFpJgX4B
— Crain’s Chicago (@CrainsChicago) September 18, 2018
The project must also be reported to a Federal review under the National Environmental Policy Act, Crain’s.
But to develop the business further, Jackson Park was not without controversy. Margaret Schmid, co-founder of Jackson Park Watch, criticized the idea of the leasing of public land to the Foundation.
“The idea of renting is invaluable, irreplaceable public parkland to a private entity, for $10 for 99 years is amazing said in times when public Land and natural resources are under attack in so many places,” Schmid said. “In addition to Chicago, the finances are extremely precarious. Yes, this is symbolism, but symbolism is important.”
“The idea of renting is invaluable, irreplaceable public parkland to a private entity, for $10 for 99 years is amazing in times when public Land and natural resources are under attack in so many places.”
– Margaret Schmid, co-founder, Jackson Park Watch
And earlier this year, the environmental group Protect Our Parks filed a lawsuit in Federal court against Chicago and the Chicago Park District and argued that the presidential center should not have access to public land will not be given, because it reported a presidential library, the Chicago Tribune.
The Foundation said in may 2017, that Obama’s official presidential library will be housed in the Jackson Park campus. A fixed location for the Obama Presidential Library is currently being determined.
The Foundation does not publicly address the lawsuit until Tuesday.
“We believe the suit is without merit, but we take it very, very seriously.”
– David Simas, chief executive Obama Foundation
David Simas, President and CEO of the Foundation, said: “the suit is without merit, but we take it very, very seriously.” He argued that, in practice, the presidential center is a public park and follow Park District rules.
Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.