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SOPHIA TAREEN Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Five years after Barack Obama chose Chicago as the site for his legacy project, construction officially began Monday on the Obama Presidential Center.
Roadway closures were set up and a bulldozer pulled up to start digging up part of the 19-acre lakefront site in Jackson Park, which is near the Obama family home and the University of Chicago where the former president once taught law. The Obama Foundation, which announced preliminary work in April, said a formal ground- breaking ceremony would take place in the fall.
Progress on the $500 million center has been delayed by lawsuits and a federal review required because of the location of the park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Also, concerns about displacing Black residents stretched into a yearslong battle, result- ing in neighborhood protec- tions —including for affordable housing.
The multi-building complex will include a museum, pub- lic library branch, athletic center, children’s play area and a test kitchen. Obama’s documents will be available in digital form.
During a Chicago appearance in June, Obama said he hoped the center would help promote the city’s South Side and bring Chicagoans together.