Obama Foundation holds public meeting about presidential library project

Leah Hope Image
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Obama Foundation holds community meeting
The Obama Foundation will hold a community meeting Sept. 14, 2017 in Chicago seeking input about the planned presidential library.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Obama Foundation is holding a community meeting Thursday seeking public input about the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) project that is slated for the city's Jackson Park neighborhood.

The meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and open to the public. The foundation said they want to hear from the community and local residents on the development and construction of the center, as well as on how to support civic leaders making positive change in their communities.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and the program will begin at 5:45 p.m. The Hyatt is located at 2233 S. Martin Luther King Dr. in Chicago.

The Obama Foundation will be represented at the meeting by Michael Strautmanis, vice president of civic engagement; Louise Bernard, museum director; Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, lead architects for the OPC; and Michael Van Valkenburgh, lead landscape designer for the OPC.

Bus transportation to and from McCormick Place will be available starting at 4:30 p.m. Buses will leave from Hyde Park Academy High School, 6220 South Stony Island Avenue. The last bus will leave at 5:45 p.m.

Discounted parking near McCormick Place will be available in the following parking lots:

-Lot A: Accessed from Prairie Avenue or right off Interstate 55

-Hyatt Regency parking lot, 2233 S. Martin Luther King Dr.

A coalition of 12 organization plans to sleep out Wednesday night to be first in line at the Community meeting. They want the foundation to commit to protecting affordable housing and creating new jobs -- and they want that commitment in writing.

"In this city and its politics, saying it is not enough. It must be put in writing," said Sharon Payne, of the Obama Library South Side CBA Coalition.

The Obama Foundation said they want to hear everyone's feedback.

"We want anyone that wants to help us make a positive impact on this community, we want them in the game and we want them participating," said Mike Strautmanis, of the Obama Foundation.


On Wednesday, former President Barack Obama announced via video that the foundation would host a global leaders summit Oct. 31 - Nov. 1. The event aims to empower young people to create change, he said.

"This October, we're bringing together hundreds of leaders from all around the world for a hands-on exchange of ideas in my hometown -- the city of Chicago," the former president announced in a clip on Twitter.

This leadership summit will be a place to gather and learn from one another and then go back to your communities to lead others in the hard work of change," he said.

The former president will be joined at the summit by his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama.

The summit will welcome hundreds of young leaders to "exchange ideas, explore creative solutions to common problems and experience civic art, technology and music from around the world," according to the Obama Foundation.

The president's video message featured an array of community leaders, including Chicagoan Sheldon Smith whose organization, The Dovetail Project, supports young fathers.

"To have the president make mention of that, make mention of fatherhood, and, of course, he knows the importance of that, is exciting," Smith said.

Smith plans to be a part of the global summit in October and to keep doing what he does, which includes a new class of fathers going through the parenting and career classes at The Dovetail Project later this month.

CNN Wire contributed to this report.

The Obama Foundation's will host a two-day global summit, taking place Oct. 31-Nov. 1, with hundreds of young leaders.