Work related to the Obama Presidential Center, which will be located in Chicago on the city's south side and include former President Barack Obama's presidential library, will reportedly cost Illinois taxpayers nearly $200 million.
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The state of Illinois has approved $224 million to pay for street and transportation projects in Chicago's South Side neighborhood around the Obama Presidential Center site, $199 million of which will fall directly on the shoulders of Illinois taxpayers.
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law the legislature's budget on June 4, which included $174 million for road work in and around Jackson Park — where the 235-foot-tall building would be located — and another $50 million to renovate an above-ground rail stop two miles away.
"Bringing the Obama Presidential Center to Chicago took leadership and vision, and we are gratified that our partners in Springfield also saw the potential for what this means for all of Illinois," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
"The state’s $174 million investment in infrastructure improvements near the Obama Center on the South Side of Chicago is money well spent," he added.
The Chicago City Council approved the project last month despite significant resistance from groups skeptical of the benefits the center will bring to The Windy City, in addition to groups protesting the center's use of the famed-Jackson Park.
Public activists even filed a lawsuit in federal court last month seeking to bar the Obama Center from being built on park land, arguing the Obama Foundation pulled an "institutional bait and switch."
The Obama Foundation originally said it would build Obama's presidential library on the land, and vowed the National Archives would oversee the library. However, that — and the plans for the Obama Center — have evolved over the last several years. Officials now say the center will be privately managed.