Illinois Approves Major Change To Area Around Obama’s Library, Guess Who Has To Pay For It?

BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 30: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People on September 30, 2017 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Pool/Getty Images)

The state of Illinois has approved the cost and construction of a presidential library in honor of former President Obama. The area around the new library will need some work and the neighboring project is estimated to cost $224 million.

Taxpayers in the state are expected to dish out just under $200 million to help foot the bill.

Per Washington Examiner:

The state of Illinois has approved $224 million to pay for street and transportation projects in Chicago’s South Side neighborhood around the Obama Presidential Center site, $199 million of which will fall directly on the shoulders of Illinois taxpayers.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law the legislature’s budget on June 4, which included $174 million for road work in and around Jackson Park — where the 235-foot-tall building would be located — and another $50 million to renovate an above-ground rail stop two miles away.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the massive spending is “money well spent.”

“Bringing the Obama Presidential Center to Chicago took leadership and vision, and we are gratified that our partners in Springfield also saw the potential for what this means for all of Illinois. The state’s $174 million investment in infrastructure improvements near the Obama Center on the South Side of Chicago is money well spent,”  Emanuel said during the groundbreaking ceremony, per the report.

Some other people online are less than impressed with the “improvements”:

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As Fox News reports, the library is facing a legal challenge for an alleged land-grabbing scheme:

The Center still has a series of approval steps to go through, including a federal review, but has also faced a lawsuit by Protect Our Parks, which alleged that the city was engaging in a “short con shell game” to get the 12-story museum and library built on parkland.
The lawsuit argued that while the purpose of transferring the land was to house the official Obama presidential library, the center will not include his presidential papers, only a digital copy.

“Defendants have chosen to deal with it in a classic Chicago political way, known as a short con shell game, a corrupt scheme to deceive and seemingly legitimize an illegal land grab, one that will endure for centuries to come, regardless of future changing public park needs and increasingly consequential environmental conditions,” the lawsuit said.

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