CHICAGO (CBS)– The official groundbreaking for the future Obama Presidential Center begins Tuesday afternoon.
The former President and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama are in Chicago to attend the ceremony in Jackson Park.
“When it came time to plan the Obama Presidential Center, we wanted to give back to the place that gave us so much,” Michelle Obama said.
The center in Jackson Park is where construction began about a month ago, but it’s been five years in the making.
It will include a museum, public library, athletic center and community space.
The Obamas hope it will give an economic boost to the South Side.
“This is the first presidential museum that’s ever been located in the inner city community,” Dr. Carol Adams, advisor to the Obama Foundation, said. “We think that it is has social, cultural education and economic benefits. We see economic benefits to our community already, as we see the contractors that are working on the site evil now and more to come.”
But the project has also faced multiple lawsuits.
Including from a group called “Protect Our Parks.”
They argue the center would have a negative impact on DuSable Lake Shore Drive and eat up Lake Michigan parkland.
Then residents in South Shore are worried the new center will drive housing prices up and displace them from their homes.
“There’s an agreement already with Woodlawn and certain community complex properties coming with other neighborhoods that assure that the people live in the neighborhood, continue to stay in the neighborhood continue to be able to afford to be in the neighborhood, and benefit from the growth that’s going to come as a result of this wonderful presidential center,” Adams said.
Adams says she’s ready to see the center standing tall as a beacon of light and hope for black children.
“It tells them what they can be in what they can do,” She said. “It tells them that you can get there from here, because it’s right here it’s right here in your neighborhood this story.”