City Of Chicago Holds Showing, Q & A Session For Obama Presidential Center Plans

CHICAGO (CBS) — Concerned about proposed road closures around Jackson Park to make way for the Obama Presidential Center?

The city of Chicago is showing its latest plans and answering questions on Thursday at the South Shore Cultural Center. The city held a similar showing on Wednesday. WBBM’s Steve Miller reports.

The City of Chicago proposed that about eight blocks of roadway be closed in Jackson Park, with other blocks reconfigured, to accommodate the Obama Presidential Center.

At the showing, the Chicago Department of Transportation has a narrated slide show explaining the reconfiguration of the city blocks.

Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said closed streets, like most of Cornell Drive, will mean a gain of three to five acres of park space.

And she said reconfiguration will not affect commute times too much.

“And in fact in many cases, travel times will improve. In the limited number of cases travel times will increase, it’s no more than a minute and a half. So it’s a relatively short amount of time,” Scheinfeld said.

Scheinfeld said it’s premature to talk about the cost of the proposed road reconfiguration, lane additions and street closures to accommodate the Obama library. The cost is still to be worked out.

She says the city wants people to weigh in on the plans.

“At that point, we’ll be starting to hammer out cost estimates. I think it’s premature to anchor that conversation,” Scheinfeld said.

The Obama Foundation has announced it’s paying for a 400-car parking garage at the east end of Midway Plaisance.

“It takes a really underutilized piece of land and activates it, creates a new park and a new amenity,” said Mike Strautmanis, of the Obama Foundation.

But as the public dropped by to take a look at the plans, some of them, like South Shore resident Allan Lindrup, wondered about the cost of the rest of it.

“There’s a lot of these details of costs and where it’s going to come from that’s disturbing to residents,” Lindrup said.

The city is inviting people’s questions about the plans from 4 to 8 p.m. at the South Shore Cultural Center on Thursday.

Watch & Listen LIVE