CHICAGO (CBS) — The battle over the Obama Presidential Center goes to court on Wednesday, for a hearing on a lawsuit seeking to prevent the facility from being built in Jackson Park.
A group called Protect Our Parks has argued the Obama Center is not the same as a traditional presidential library, and should not be built on public land.
The Obamas decided to forego the official federal presidential library designation from the National Archives and Records Administration in 2017. It’s a move that will save millions of dollars required for an archives endowment, and will avoid specific construction requirements by the feds.
The National Archives will loan Obama-era documents, other records, and artifacts to the center. A letter of intent posted on the Obama Foundation website said it will partner with NARA to create a fully digital library.
Meantime, the original records will be stored in an existing NARA facility, rather than at the Obama Center.
The president of Protect Our Parks has called the planning of the Obama Center “ill-conceived” and in “arrogant disregard” for Illinois law.
Some legal experts have said the Obama Foundation should win this case, especially because of plans to transfer ownership of the center to the city after construction is complete.