Chicago residents say the planned museum complex honoring former president Barack Obama is pushing black families in the South Side out of their homes with higher rent costs.
The Obama Presidential Center, which began construction in Chicago’s South Side in 2021, has displaced many long-term black residents due to gentrification resulting in higher rent costs, the Washington Post reported. Median rent in the area increased by 43 percent, and home values more than doubled since the start of construction.
“The reality is that this is about real people, and we don’t want the Obama Center—the center honoring the first black president—to be another page in the long history of displacing black people or doing harm to black families,” one Chicago resident told the Post.
The $500 million center provides amenities to the South Side such as a library and playground. Landowners, viewing the center as a community luxury, have adjusted their rent prices.
“This investment, this substantial investment in the South Side will help make the neighborhood, where we call home, a destination for the entire world,” Michelle Obama said at the center’s groundbreaking in 2021. “But more importantly, this project, as the governor and mayor have said, will be a vital resource for the people who live here.”
“The Obama Center is not being built for Chicago,” another resident told the Post. “It’s being built for the world.”
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