CHICAGO — Plans to build Barack Obama's $500 million presidential
After hearing nearly an hour of arguments, U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey said there should be "no delay in construction."
"This case is dismissed," he said.
Blakey's quick announcement in court surprised many. He later issued a detailed, 52-page ruling in which he called the park advocacy group's arguments unconvincing.
Protect Our Parks' lawsuit, along with a federal review, has halted progress on the planned state-of-the-art museum and library that was supposed to open in 2021 in Jackson Park. The 500-acre park along Lake Michigan is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Among other things, Protect Our Parks argued the city illegally transferred land for the park to The Obama Foundation, a private entity overseeing construction of the
Meanwhile, lawyers for the city contended the whole museum was a public benefit itself, along with plans to maintain the park grounds. City attorneys have also accused the parks group of misreading the law and misrepresenting how the land approval works.
In siding with the city, Blakey said the
Roth said the parks group planned to appeal and would look at other legal options to halt construction.
"I'm bitterly disappointed," Roth told news reporters outside court.
The site of the
"Our vision for the Obama Presidential Center has always been one where the location reinforces the project's core aims: a celebration of history, a place of connection and engagement for the public, and an investment in community," Obama Foundation CEO David Simas said in a statement.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who took office last month, called the decision a significant step forward. In a statement she said she'd work to ensure the
While the library has also faced criticism from residents over the traffic it will bring and people it will displace, Tuesday's decision was largely celebrated by
"This is a benefit to our community," said Erin Adams, a single mom who lives nearby and uses the park often.
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Sophia Tareen, The Associated Press