$500 million Obama Presidential Center forcing poor Chicago residents out of neighborhoods

April 4, 2023

There was a time, not long ago, that former President Barack Obama was nothing less than an untouchable legend in the city of Chicago.

But that's changing. According to Fox News, residents on the city's South Side are becoming increasingly upset at the negative effects that the Obama Presidential Center is having on the area, with some explaining that it's "gentrifying" their neighborhoods.

Of course, that creates a host of economic issues, including higher rent prices and an overall higher cost of living.

The ongoing project is estimated to cost some $500 million.

What's the deal?

Ground was broken on the project late last year, and the former president promised the residents of the city which he once represented that it would have a positive "economic impact."

Except, that doesn't seem to be the view held by many of the residents who have to live and survive in Chicago's South Side, which is already stricken with poverty, crime, drugs, and daily violence.

In a Washington Post piece titled "Chicago neighbors say Obama center is raising rents, forcing them out," writer Marissa J. Lang interviewed South Side residents to get their reactions to the developing project.

She noted that many of the residents near the new development were "priced out" of their homes after living there for decades.

Brandon Johnson, a Democrat running to replace Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) in a runoff this week, weighed in on the seriousness of the issue, especially how it effects longtime residents who might not have the means to simply pack up and find new housing.

"We have to make sure, for families that live in the very communities where economic development is taking place, that landlords don’t see it as an opportunity to push the families out who have been a part of these communities for decades," Johnson told Lang.

Unfair for many

Dixon Romeo, a South Shore native and community activist, noted that it was because of her neighborhood and its voters that Obama was elevated politically, saying that it's unfair to be punished as a result, so many years later.

"This is the community that sent him to the White House, and we should be the community that gets to stay and benefit from the presidential center," Romeo said.

Many other interviews of local residents echoed the same concerns, undoubtedly causing a massive optics issue for Obama and his remaining Chicago support base.

Only time will tell if those in charge of the project figure out a way to stop punishing poor South Side residents of color. It's not a good look, and it's downright inhumane.


" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015-2023 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.