Barack Obama’s presidential library has drawn a lot of attention from Chicagoans, but not all of it has been positive. Ambitious plans for the center coming to the city’s South Side have prompted debates, with some folks straight up hating on it, The Guardian reported.
The modern center, priced at $1.5 billion, will include a basketball court, a yoga space and a test kitchen. But rather than following the way of traditional libraries with books and papers lining its shelves, Obama will only provide a digital archive as an alternative. This feature, along with others, has come under criticism, to the angry of people just tired of Obama’s name being dragged through the mud.
“Mr President, I’ve got to tell you: the renderings for your museum are … more likely to congeal than stir blood,” Ron Grossman, a Chicago Tribune columnist wrote recently. “Is [this] how you want to be remembered? As the healthy-eating and meditation-advocating president … That’s not how I want the story to come down to my grandchildren’s children.”
The presidential library, traditionally a passion project of sorts that honors U.S. leaders, is usually built in the former chief’s home state. Obama’s library will reflect his and Michelle Obama’s long-running campaign for folks to have healthier and more active lives. It will be a fun space planned for the city’s Jackson Park, with its completion slated for 2021.
Though many Black community members are super excited about Obama’s center, there are people who just can’t get on board.
A University of Chicago group started a petition to move the center from Jackson Park to another location, The Associated Press reported. They also don’t want it to have just a digital archive.
Unsurprisingly, it looks like more people will have their opinions, especially if plans are revised in the future. Two things, however, are clear: Black people will keep rooting for Obama and the finished center will be something spectacular.