Presidential libraries have been a tradition since 1939, beginning with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. However, as the Obama Foundation makes preparations for former President Barack Obama’s new library, locals from the University of Chicago are telling them to put it somewhere else.
The Washington Times reported that over 100 members of the University of Chicago faculty wrote a letter to the Foundation. The members “are asking the Obama Foundation to move the proposed library honoring the 44th president to a new location because the plan as currently constituted is ‘socially regressive.”’
Initially, the Obama Foundation said building the library would provide “development or economic” benefits to the neighborhoods surrounding the library, but the members of the faculty say that isn’t the whole truth.
According to the faculty, the library “could cost more than $100 million in state funds.”
They argue these funds could be better spent elsewhere.
Ouch. But then again, it’s the Obama Foundation. He’s used to spending big bucks on projects.
Additionally, the letter states that the library will take up a massive amount of space at a historic public park. “Jackson Park,” the professors write, “designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the most important urban parks in the nation.”
The library wouldn’t just make a small impact on the park either. “On the current plans the intrusion into the park is huge: twenty-one acres, the size of two large city blocks,” the professors claim.
So, let me put this in perspective for you. The Obamas, who self profess to be all about protecting the environment, are willing to take down historic trees and a historic park, just to make room for their library. Talk about hypocritical.
The Obama Foundation argues, however, that the library’s presence alone would bring in hundreds of thousands of people and would “strengthen the economic climate in the region.”
A spokesperson for the Foundation explains, “While we don’t expect everyone to agree with every element of the plan, we look forward to working with people across the community and the city to make the most of the opportunity to create a global destination that will showcase the South Side to the world.”
But let’s be honest, how many people do you think will actually make a pilgrimage to a library that won’t have any books? That’s right. This library won’t house any books.
Instead, this library will “host a digital archive of former President Barack Obama’s records, but not keep his hard-copy manuscripts and letters and other documents onsite.”
The library will also host a “test kitchen’ to to teach visitors about the full production cycle of nutritious food,” as well as offer yoga classes.
Make no mistake. This library isn’t a library in the traditional sense. This is a shrine to the Obamas, and they are just fine tearing down historic parks and trees to make it happen.
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