The Obama Presidential Center
Rooted in Chicago and Designed With You
The Obama family called the South Side home — and the Obama Presidential Center is, first and foremost, a collaboration with our neighbors. Welcome to your one-stop resource for staying up-to-date, sharing your ideas and feedback, and getting involved in the Center’s planning and programming.
Join Us at Our Upcoming Public Meeting
On Tuesday, February 27, we will host a public meeting to continue gathering input from our neighbors across Chicago on the design and development of the Obama Presidential Center as well as future programming. Attendees will get a chance to ask questions and hear from the Obama Foundation team, Chicago Department of Transportation, and the Park District on the proposed plans. You can RSVP for the meeting below.
Please note: ASL interpreters will be available for the duration of the event. If you need additional accessibility accommodations or have questions, please email us at [email protected]
The Obama Presidential Center:
A Collaboration with Our Neighbors
The Obama Presidential Center is more than a building or a museum. It’s a space for all of us to come together, collaborate, and leave ready to go change our worlds. And as Chicago-area residents, you’re our neighbors and partners in building this campus for active citizenship. Learn more about our plans for the Center — and how you’ve helped shape them.
You spoke — and we listened.
What you told us
You wanted a less bulky design for the museum building.
What we did about it
The initial design was merely conceptual. Since May, we have taken feedback on the museum building and used it to refine the design, creating a more slender structure with more glass and light. We will continue adding more glass to the structure as we define the interior experience in more detail.
In creating a more slender structure, the height changed from 178 feet to 225 feet.
You wanted to see more landscaping.
We added a berm to the East Side of the campus.
Landscape berms now surround the garage and the sides of the garage were opened for ventilation.
Vehicle entrance at the parking facility now covered by landscape.
Parking facility was lowered a half floor below grade.
Size of the above-grade volume of the Forum building was reduced.
You asked for welcoming, inviting entrances to the Center.
We added a more prominent entry to the site at the southeast corner.
We removed the pedestrian bridge from the parking facility to the museum building.
We added a sunken courtyard on the northeast corner.
You wanted to make sure there were trees across the landscape.
Our arborist has created a plan that will provide more trees on the space than exist there today. Trees being removed will be replaced by mature trees.
You wanted to ensure Jackson Park could remain a destination for birdwatchers.
We retained a team of bird specialists to advise on plantings that will attract a variety of birds and help us ensure we are protecting the natural habitat of birds.
You wanted to see Jackson Park’s historic landmarks protected.
While the initial concept featured a water basin at the Women’s Garden, the new design commits to preserving the location of the Women’s Garden.
The new park at the Midway elevates the stature and visibility of the Cheney Goode Memorial.
We have committed to retaining the historic comfort station.
You were concerned about an influx of activity in the Wooded Island.
The new design removes the pedestrian bridge to the Wooded Island.
You wanted to see engaging spaces for young people.
Children’s play areas are dispersed throughout the site – as opposed to consolidated in a single location – in the new design.
The sledding hill has been lengthened by combining with the Public Lawn.
The Community Garden has been further developed with the intent for educational activities for youth.
You were concerned about parking at the Midway.
Moved the parking facility from an above-ground location on the Midway to an underground location within Jackson Park.
We eliminated bus staging at the park at the Midway and moved it to Stony Island.
You wanted to be sure that congestion in the area would be kept to a minimum.
The proposed curve in Stony Island has been removed.
Thousands of new local jobs.
Hundreds of thousands of new visitors.
A renewed Jackson Park.
Beyond providing Chicagoans across the city with the opportunity to come together as citizens, the Obama Presidential Center will provide real economic benefits to the South Side. And we’re committed to making sure those jobs are available to everyone.
What does that look like in practice? For example, all Construction Manager candidates must commit to awarding 50% or more of their contracts to diverse suppliers. And no less than 35% of all construction contracts will be awarded to minority business enterprise firms. We’re working with our Construction Manager candidates to ensure they are training and retaining a deep pipeline of workers from underrepresented communities like Woodlawn, Washington Park, and South Shore.
The Center is estimated to support nearly 5,000 new, local jobs during its construction, and more than 2,500 permanent jobs once the Center opens. The Center will attract up to 760,000 annual visitors — and in its first 10 years, is expected to have a total economic impact of $3.1 billion. We want to work with you to ensure the hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy local businesses and that impact is felt across the South Side.
The Obama Presidential Center is Committed to Hiring a Diverse Workforce
Over the course of his eight years in office, President Obama built the most diverse White House and Administration in history, with more women and people of color in top policy positions than ever before. He wants to do the same thing with the Obama Presidential Center. One of our goals for this project is to bring more diversity to the construction industry — and in so doing, give South Side residents opportunities for both short-term jobs and long-term professions.
From community meetings to farmers markets, talks, and parades, we’re hosting and participating in events all across Chicago. Take a look at some of our recent engagement — and make sure you’re on the list to receive the latest on upcoming events.
MLK Jr. Day Volunteer Opportunities
January 15, 2018
We hosted several service projects across the city to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Obama Foundation Public Meeting
Chicago Park District Public Meetings
South Lakefront Framework Plan
CDOT Public Meetings
Traffic Mitigation and Road Improvements around Jackson Park
Harper Court Summer Music Series
Hyde Park Farmers Market
African Festival of the Arts
September 1-4, 2017
South Shore Jazz Festival
August 20, 2017
88th Annual Bud Billiken Parade
August 12, 2017
Taste of WVON
July 15, 2017
Silver Room Block Party
July 15, 2017
Chosen Few Music Festival
July 1-2, 2017
You Inspire Us — and Each Other
The Center is designed to be a place for you to meet and learn from one another. Meet a few of the citizens who have inspired us lately.
Show us your South Side
Share a link to an Instagram photo you took, and we'll consider it for this gallery.Share Your South Side