By Dorothy Tucker

(CBS) — Some residents living near the future site of the Obama Presidential Library and Museum fear the high-profile project will displace them.

These neighbors include low-income residents in a high rise at 64th and Stony Island, just across the street from Jackson Park, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports.

Just outside Michele William’s window is the future home of the Obama library — a potential economic boom to her Woodlawn neighborhood.

But Williams is afraid she won’t be here to enjoy it.

“They’re putting in new stores. The mayor’s talking about putting a bus route to go around there. Do you really think they’re going to keep us here?” she says.

Williams lives in one of the 240 federally subsidized apartments just steps from the site. She only pays $150 a month and fears rents will rise beyond her ability to pay.

“I don’t want to live nowhere else,” she says.

Devondrick Jeffers runs a South Side community organization that recently helped residents organize a letter-writing campaign so that they can share their concerns with the foundation behind the Obama library.

“When new developments come to under-served communities, usually it means displacement, disenfranchisement for the residents who already are living there,” Jeffers says.

The Obama Library Foundation has indicated it will protect low-income residents, saying: “Our efforts are focused not only on ensuring that residents aren’t displaced, but that they feel the economic benefits of the project.”

That’s not quite good enough for Williams.

“You don’t have to be a scholar to realize they can tell you anything and that don’t mean they’ll do it. You need it in writing,” Williams says.

Community leaders plan to send the letters to the Obama Library Foundation by the end of the week and send copies to the president.

They’ve also requested a meeting with the foundation to talk about resident concerns.


Dorothy Tucker