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Calling for community to benefit from Obama Center

By The Final Call | Last updated: Aug 6, 2019 - 1:57:53 PM

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Alderman Jeanette Taylor wants the Obama Foundation to sign agreement to guarantee resident benefit from new Presidential Center in her ward.
CHICAGO—During a news conference at Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park, on the South Side of the city, Alderman Jeanette Taylor of the 20th Ward and 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston expressed their dissatisfaction with the failure of Obama Foundation officials to sign a community benefits agreement that would guarantee residents in their respective wards not be excluded from the benefits resulting from the building of the historic Obama Presidential Center in this predominantly Black community.

Both elected officials expressed similar concerns that without a legally binding agreement the majority of jobs would go to people living outside the area, while the project would mean higher property taxes, increased rent costs and force many long term residents out of the area.

Alderman Leslie Hairston wants the Obama Foundation to sign agreement to guarantee residents benefit from new Presidential Center in her ward.

The day after the July 30 protest, the aldermen continued to express their concerns during a City Council meeting in downtown Chicago. Alderman Taylor passed out copies of the Community Benefit Agreement on the floor of the council for other aldermen to support.

Alderman Taylor told the media she identifies with the concerns of her constituents because before she was elected to the city council, she was forced to move as a result of new development projects in an neighborhood she had lived in for years. Alderman Hairston said residents in her ward were also concerned about the environmental impact the Presidential Center would have on community access to Jackson Park where the center is scheduled to be built and want a seat at the table during all phases of the development process.

Both alderman said they are not opposed to the Presidential Center, they just want current community residents not to be displaced and to participate fully in the benefits associated with the construction of the major project.