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Battle Lines Drawn Over Obama School In Chicago

Dana Kozlov Dana Kozlov
Dana Kozlov is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago. She...
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(CBS) – You’ve probably heard about the plans for a selective-enrolment high school in Chicago named after President Obama.

But some on the Near North Side are saying: Not so fast.

So, what’s the issue? CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports.

Barack Obama College Prep would swallow up most of Stanton Park.

Resident Cindy Cooper says in this neighborhood, formerly Cabrini Green, that’s a big problem.

“We need to do something. Something has to give,” she says.

Cooper isn’t alone.

Donald Lee says the current proposal doesn’t make sense.

For one, the shuttered Near North High School sits one block away. And Lee says according to the 1998 city space plan there’s supposed to be 2 acres of green space for every 1,000 neighborhood residents.

At 22,000 residents, there should be 40 acres of open space. Right now, there are just 16.

The proposed high school adds fuel to a change.org petition already calling for more park space. Even Ald. Walter Burnett acknowledged a potential problem.

A Mayor Emanuel spokesperson says existing park space in the former Cabrini Green area will eventually increase by 15 acres but can’t say when.

As for using the old Near North High School space, that spokesperson says legally, it’s not an option.