Local public officials respond to Obama Presidential Center and golf course proposals

Staff Writer

With construction of the Obama Presidential Center and Jackson Park and South Shore Golf Course underway, local elected officials shared their views on the current state of Jackson Park’s transition.

Local elected officials believe that the community should be included throughout the process.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the Woodlawn and South Shore area and for the South Side at large,” State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-13) said. “It is important that the development process include voices from the impacted communities and that the projects continue to benefit those neighborhoods as they come to fruition.”

Raoul said that the developers of the presidential library and the new golf course project should not only enhance the community but also avoid replacing its existing character.

The presidential center, which will include a library, museum and community center, will open in Jackson Park in four years but work on the project will begin this year. Raoul said that former President Barack Obama views the project as an economic engine for the South Side that will help create jobs during construction and permanent jobs once it’s completed.

In addition to the presidential center, through his firm TGR Design, legendary golfer Tiger Woods will design the golf course. Woods plans to merge both the Jackson Park and South Shore courses into one single golf complex. While hosting major professional golf tournaments that would help bring an economic boom to the community.

Although some are excited about the economic boom the project may bring to the community, officials explained planning and meeting community needs should be the developer’s top priority.

“I look forward to the excitement of the Obama library and I’m hopeful that the plans will retain open natural space that we have long valued in Jackson Park,” State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25) said. “The Park has room for many different uses but they need careful planning to meet community needs.”

State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-26) stated that he needs more knowledge about the Obama Presidential Center and Jackson Park and South Shore Golf Course projects before he can comment.

Although both projects are in the nearby 5th Ward, Ald. Sophia King (4th) declined to comment on how she believes the upcoming projects might affect residents in the 4th Ward.