CHICAGO (CBS) — It was a celebration as the Obamas broke ground on the Obama Presidential Center.
But some on Chicago’s South Side who are still fighting to keep the project from happening. CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reports, critics of the Obama Presidential Center have argued against its location.READ MORE: Chicago Firefighter Fired Over Racist Social Media Posts; City Worker Reprimanded For Bringing Gun To O'Hare
A few blocks up from where the Obamas broke ground was a group of South Side neighbors undeterred, making sure their fight against the ripple effects of the Obama Presidential Center gets noticed. On the ground, some communities are bracing for gentrification.
“Yes, they are going to displace all of us, if they can,” said resident Michelle Williams. “And they’re already out asking people to sell their properties. That’s not right.”
The Community Benefits Agreement Coalition argued successfully last year to add and protect affordable housing in neighboring Woodlawn. But the group said there has been no movement, and they want Oakland, Kenwood, South Shore, Washington Park and Greater Grand Crossing to have those same protections.
“The legacy of this president is important,” added resident Dixon Moore. “It’s iconic. It’s relevant to Chicago, but that does not pay people’s rent.”READ MORE: Group Robs Three 7-Eleven Stores Within 30 Minutes Downtown
Not even the air was spared, where someone flew the message “Stop Cutting Down Trees, Move the OPC.” The canopy over Jackson Park is also part of the fight in court, lead by Protect our Parks attorney Richard Epstein.
“We thought our case was extremely strong, particularly since there were many trees, hundreds that were going to be cut down, roads that were going to be disrupted and lives that were going to be in many ways ruined,” Epstein said.
Thus far, legal challenges have not been successful. But Epstein is working on another appeal to stop construction. All the while, the Obama Presidential Center moves forward, but some remain skeptical.
“That is why we are here at this ribbon cutting. You can cut the ribbon but don’t cut us out,” said Moore.MORE NEWS: Candace Parker, Chicago Sky Teammates Celebrate WNBA Title With A Drive-Through Run At Portillo's
THE CBA coalition who put on Tuesday’s protest is organizing to expand those affordable housing protections this week. South Shore is hosting town halls to get feedback from residents. From there, the group will take its requests to the mayor’s office.