Scott Olson/Getty Images
Paula Rogo
Jan, 11, 2018

The Obama Foundation is moving full steam ahead with its plans for the Obama Presidential Center.

The foundation formally started the process with the city of Chicago by submitting its planned development and lakefront protection ordinance applications on Wednesday.

“Michelle and I are absolutely grateful to all of you for being a part of all this remarkable process,” said former President Barack Obama in a video.

The news comes after the foundation had to change its initial plans following opposition from more than 150 University of Chicago professors. The professors had signed a letter that called the original plan “socially regressive,” according to the Chicago Tribune

“We urge the Obama Foundation to explore alternative sites on the South Side that could be developed with more economic benefits, better public transportation, and less cost to taxpayers. We would be pleased to support the Obama Center if the plan genuinely promoted economic development in our neighborhoods and respected our precious public urban parks,” the letter read.

The changes included an underground garage, and more play areas for children, according to ABC 7 Chicago.

In its first 10 years, the new center is expected to have a total economic impact of $3.1 billion, according to the Foundation

“The economic impact to the people who live there currently would be amazing. And infusing that kind of investment with this this kind of project is an opportunity that can't be passed up,” said Shari Runner, President and CEO, Chicago Urban League.