CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Proponents of the planned Obama Presidential Center on the South Side are using the Martin Luther King Junior holiday to build support for the project.
Representatives of the Obama Foundation visited churches on the South and West Sides on Sunday to encourage people to speak up for the center, because they say it isn’t a done deal. WBBM’s Jim Gudas reports.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Breezy On Tuesday
“The main reason I am here is so that people know it’s not a done deal,” said Brian Sleet, a spokesman for the Obama Foundation, at a service on Sunday at the Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church in Woodlawn. “A lot of times people will just assume, ‘Hey, they made the announcement, it’s coming, there’s no problems and we can just sit back and wait for things to happen.’ That’s not the case.”
The project still needs approval from the city. Sleet’s efforts on Sunday were part of an outreach effort, “Get Ready Chicago,” to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The effort aims to engage, educate and excite the community around civic innovation and the Obama Presidential Center. Members of the foundation organized the campaign.
Michael Strautmanis, the Obama Foundation’s vice president of civic engagement, also visited churches on Sunday. He said the Presidential Center would be a strong investment for Chicago.READ MORE: Proposed Laws Would Improve Privacy Protections For Sex Crime Victims In Illinois
“It’s going to be good for our city. It’s going to bring economic opportunity to the greatest city in the world – $3.1-billion of economic impact to the city of Chicago,” he said.
“There’s going to be jobs here, there are going new businesses starting up, new things opening up – new restaurants.”
Plans for the Obama Presidential Center will be formally introduced to the Chicago City Council at a meeting on Wednesday.MORE NEWS: Suburban Man Says Unlike Others, He's Had Plenty Of Contact With IDES -- But It's Been Of No Help
The Coalition for the Obama Presidential Center will continue its “Get Ready Chicago” on Monday with activities across the city to commemorate the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, including packing lunches and making blankets for youth and families with Honeycomb; and engaging with Chicago youth at the South Side YMCA.