Another option for OPC

To the Editor:

The Herald is the one newspaper that is paying close attention to all the developments in the disputes and pending lawsuit opposing construction of the Obama Center in historic Jackson Park.

The recent article “Don’t need OPC for development, Brazier asserts”  is especially informative as, from the perspecti­ve of actual residents of Woodlawn, it takes an honest look at all the hype and hypothetical promises about economic benefits to be realized for local residents without a Community Benefits Agreement and the never-mentioned immediate consequence of  exploding rent increases and land speculation deals by political insider carpetbaggers that is already slowly driving local residents from their long-time homes.

Rev. Brazier pulls no punches in puncturing the OPC balloon: “We had the [development] plan before the library and we still have a plan. There are many communities across this country that have continued to grow without a presidential library. So our future does not hinge on whether they’re here or not.”

Once the development fiction behind the OPC choice of the Jackson Park location is removed, an embarrassing question remains: Why does an Obama Center (no longer the originally promised official NARA  Presidential Library) have to be in dedicated and historic landmarked Jackson Park public property instead of any one of all the choice, available, and needy symbolic historic Bronzeville South Side locations, many on land already conveniently owned by UChicago who “charitably” volunteered public property for the project they desired and initiated.

All the legal obstructions, likely to end up in a Supreme Court decision, could be instantly eliminated, and there would be unanimous support for the Obama Center to break ground in any other location of his choice, as long it is not in a protected public park. This would be a classic win, win, win, win solution for obeying the controlling law, honoring the CBA Coalition, serving the interests of the University of Chicago, and the desire of Obama Foundation to serve the South Side community.

Isn’t it time to talk?


Herb Caplan


Protect Our Parks