A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a lawsuit seeks to halt the construction of former President Barack Obama with a $ 500-million presidential center on the South Side of Chicago , can go on.
US. District Judge John Robert Blakey, who was nominated by Obama for the Federal Bank in 201
The planned Jackson Park website is located seven miles from downtown Chicago in friendly neighborhoods where Obama has worked as the community's organizer, and just a few blocks from the University of Chicago, where Obama was a law professor. It is also near the home where the Obama's lived until he won the presidency in 2008.
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The center would comprise 20 hectares of the 500-hectare park. The centerpiece would be a 225 meter high museum tower surrounded by several smaller buildings, including an auditorium with 300 seats. Supporters estimate that the project will create 5,000 jobs during construction and create over 2,500 permanent jobs. An estimated 760,000 visitors could visit each year.
Protect Our Parks has accused the city of illegally transferring Parkland to the private Obama Foundation, "donating" the treasured land to a favorite Chicago son. The group said city officials manipulated the approval process and created laws to circumvent long-standing laws designed to ensure full access of residents to lakeside parks.
"The defendants have decided to deal with it in the classic political way in Chicago … to deceive and seemingly legitimize the legitimacy of an illegal land grabbing," the lawsuit states.
To make the park available for the project, the Chicago Park District first sold the land to the city for $ 1. Legislators in Illinois have amended the state's Illinois Aquarium and Museum Act to include presidential libraries as an exception to the rules of non-development when there is an overriding public interest. The City Council of Chicago approved the project in May last year with 47 to 1 votes.
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The Obama Foundation would pay you the city's $ 10 to use the parkland for 99 years You pay for the construction of the complex and take responsibility for covering the operating costs for 99 years. After construction, the physical structures of the Obama Presidential Center would be relocated to the city for free, meaning that the city would formally own the center but would not control what happens there.
"They give Obama [property] essentially […] 10 cents a year for 99 years," Park's attorney lawyer Mark Roth said Thursday.
In his Tuesday ruling, Blakey alleged that the taxpayer's First Amendment right was being violated because taxpayers' money would be spent on the redesign of roads and roads. The lawsuit argued that taxpayers would subsidize any partisan Obama activity in the center.
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. City lawyers agreed on Thursday that Chicago would pay an estimated $ 175 million to reconfigure roads to regulate traffic around the center, but also argued that Protect Our Parks misinterpreted the law's impact on the approval process misrepresented and exaggerated potential environmental disturbances.
The center was originally scheduled to open in 2021 because of the long-running lawsuit not yet broken. Some supporters of the project fear that Obama might decide to build the center in another location as a result of an ongoing dispute.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.