Chicago residents are concerned about the harm that the Obama Presidential Center could cause their community, as many South Side families are forced to leave the area because of the high rent prices and increased living costs. Blame for this increase has widely been placed on the former President’s project.
In September 2021, the Obama Presidential Center hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking reveal of its plans for a 19-acre plot which is going to include a public library, playground, community centers, and a museum. The project was to be financed through private donations and it was going to be helping revive the South Side of Chicago.
The $500 million project is still under construction and many of the longtime residents of the area have expressed concerns about the area being gentrified because of the center. They have also expressed worries that the positive “economic impact” that the former President had promised this project would bring, will include increasing rent prices which are unaffordable.
On Monday, the Washington Post put out an article titled “Chicago neighbors say Obama Center is raising rents, forcing them out,” which looked deeper into the impact that the center would actually have on communities in the area, noting that since the project was first unveiled the median home prices have more than doubled. The article was written by Marissa J. Lang and it includes interviews with longtime South Side residents who were forced to leave the area after the rent prices increased.