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The Obama Presidential Center has already started destroying dozens of age-old trees in Chicago’s Jackson Park, despite a pledge not to start removing trees until all legal paths are cleared.
The City of Chicago, the park district, and the Obama Center agreed to wait until a handful of lawsuits have developed before beginning preparations for construction, but the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Obama Center’s promise has essentially been broken because the Chicago Park District has already begun destroying baseball diamonds and tearing out trees as part of the work associated with the Obama complex construction.
The article goes on to state the following:
In January, the Obama Center promised that until the foundation had all permits secured and all lawsuits were satisfied, “there will be no trees removed or cut down.” But now, the Center claims that only the 19.3 acres upon which the center will sit is included in that promise, and the trees destroyed by the Park District are not on that acreage.
The Center’s claim is technically accurate. But the paper explains that the decades-old trees are being destroyed to make room for a track field that is being displaced by the impending construction of the Obama Center. One did not need to transpire without the other, so the moving of the track field is inextricably tied to the Obama Center, critics note.
The paper also points out that the Obama Center is impacting far and away more acreage and city facilities than just the area upon which the complex will eventually sit.
The Times wrote:
Since former President Barack Obama picked Jackson Park for his center in August 2016, a series of intertwined projects in and around Jackson Park has made the impact much larger than just the 19.3 acres to be occupied by the center, including retooling roadways and relocating athletic fields.
Despite claims by Obama representatives, the famed Jackson Park, designed by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1893, will see major alterations even though the park was placed on the federal National Register of Historic Places in 1972. And preservationists say the Obama Center is destroying the carefully planned parklands across the city’s Lake Shore region.
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— Lynn Sweet (@lynnsweet) August 7, 2018
“Until the foundation has all the permits, “There will be no trees removed or cut down,” Simas said. It turns out he was referring only to the… https://t.co/sFMt3aSYoP
— Friends of the Parks (@FOTPChicago) August 11, 2018
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