Obama Foundation to hold public meeting on presidential center

CHICAGO (WLS) -- People camped out hours ahead of time to make sure their voice is heard at a meeting about the Obama Presidential Center, which will be built on Chicago's South Side.

Doors are not scheduled to open for the meeting at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place until 5 p.m.. But people in line said they want to make sure they are one of the first to speak. They started queuing up Wednesday afternoon.

"My concerns are getting priced out," said Haroon Garel, an organizer for Southside Together Organizing for Power. "That's my number one concern...I don't want to be displaced."

The Obama Foundation said it wants to hear from the community and neighbors about the center, which is slated to be built in the city's Jackson Park neighborhood.

Those who wish to speak at the meeting said they want to make sure the Obama center benefits local residents without displacing them.

"They're saying things like, 'we want 80 percent minority hires,' that's excellent, but if you really stand by it, can you sign on the dotted line, can you really be that committed to it?" said Devondrick Jeffers, an organizer for Southside Together Organizing for Power

The presidential center's architects, museum director and other top planners will be at the meeting to take questions and feedback from the public.

Thursday's meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. comes a day after Former President Barack Obama posted a video announcement about his foundation's inaugural leadership summit, which will be held in Chicago in October.

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