The Obama Presidential Center is making life harder for Chicagoans living in the South Side. It has caused median home prices to skyrocket, rents to soar, and residents to complain that the president’s legacy monument is not being built with their interests in mind.
One resident of South Chicago expressed their frustration, stating, “The Obama Center is not being built for Chicago. It’s being built for the world. …[And the people of the world] don’t want us here. So what do you think is going to happen?”
Another community activist added that residents don’t want “Obama’s legacy marred by the displacement of thousands of Black families.” Despite the outcry, the Obama Foundation has done little to alleviate concerns.
Housing advocates have demanded that affordable housing be made mandatory in the area around the center, but their calls have gone unanswered. With median home prices doubling since the project began, residents worry that they will soon be priced out of their homes.
President Obama has talked about his intention to give back to the community by building the library, but residents feel that their voices are not being heard. With higher vacancy rates and lucrative opportunities for developers to flip properties, it seems that the South Side residents are being left behind.