Obama Presidential Center cleared to use Jackson Park for its campus

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago aldermen have cleared the way for the Obama Presidential Center to use part of Jackson Park for its campus.

Aldermen have been supportive of the new addition to the South Side, despite one group's lawsuit trying to block the center's location.

For a one-time $10 fee, the foundation can occupy the city-owned buildings for 99 years. After the key vote, the former president released a video.

"Michelle and I could not be prouder or more excited to bring the center to the South Side, a community that has given us so much," former President Barack Obama said.

But not all members of the community are cheering today. This group of activists says the use ordinance should have included a community benefits agreement that ensures residents won't be displaced as a result of the library.

'We have nothing against President Obama. We voted for him ... we just want to make sure we are included in the decision making and we are not pushed out," said Patricia Hightower, of the Obama CBA Coalition.

Obama Foundation President Marty Nesbitt said the project will not push residents out.

"This whole thing is for the community and we are all for and always have been all for doing everything we can to put the community in a better place both before and after this," Nesbitt said.

While the Obama Foundation got through a big hurdle, it still faces a lawsuit from groups who oppose building the presidential library in a public park.

"We have good standing about why this is the right thing to do for the city of Chicago, but more importantly, why it is legally correct as well," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

In addition to the land use agreement, City Council approved a controversial traffic plan the Obama Foundation says is needed to construct the presidential center that includes closing Cornell Drive. Before construction, the foundation must also complete a federal review process.
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