The construction of former President Barack Obama’s presidential center in Chicago can move forward, a Supreme Court decision has confirmed.
A group called Protect Our Parks has long expressed opposition to the concept of the Obama Presidential Center being built in Jackson Park, a historic site that was designed in 1871.
Construction of the presidential center would “demolish significant parts of Jackson Park, its historical resources, parkland, and trees, which will, in turn, adversely affect the human environment, the historic landscape, wildlife, and migratory birds,” Protect Our Parks has argued, according to NBC News.
Clear-cutting 1,000 mature carbon-sequestering trees. It's a lie that replanting with saplings is apples to apples. Fact: this destruction harms the environment AND will contribute to serious public health concerns (i.e., increased smog/pollutants = respiratory issues.) https://t.co/Jz60cwBip1
— Protect Our Parks (@parks_protect) September 10, 2021
The group sought an injunction that would halt construction on the presidential center, which began in August, Newsweek reported.
But on Monday, the application for relief was denied by the Supreme Court.
“The application for injunctive relief addressed to the Chief Justice and referred to the Court is denied,” the court said.
It was the second time in less than two months that the Supreme Court had rejected Protect Our Parks’ efforts to force a stop to construction. In August, Justice Amy Coney Barrett also denied the group’s petition.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision is disappointing, but not surprising. We still believe that preserving the status quo is fundamental to preventing irreparable harm in Jackson Park,” Protect Our Parks co-counsel Michael Rachlis said in a statement at the time, according to The Hill.
“Nonetheless, our core arguments seek to protect the long-term environmental and historical resources in Jackson Park, and we look forward to presenting our evidence and these arguments in the appellate and district court in the coming weeks,” Rachlis added.
Last week, Obama himself broke ground on his presidential center.
On Tuesday, we broke ground on the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park—now the work begins to bring hope home to the South Side of Chicago. Thank you @GovPritzker, @ChicagosMayor, and the thousands who watched from home. pic.twitter.com/TDwpkuJIg0
— The Obama Foundation (@ObamaFoundation) October 1, 2021
“We want this center to be more than a static museum or a source of archival research,” Obama said at the ground-breaking ceremony. “It won’t just be a collection of campaign memorabilia or Michelle’s ball gowns, although I know everybody will come see those. It won’t just be an exercise in nostalgia or looking backwards. We want to look forward.”
According to The New York Times, construction is expected to take four years and cost $830 million.