Obama Foundation will pay up to $3.5 million to revamp field

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A conceptual drawing for the proposed Obama Presidential Center that will be located in Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side. | Obama Foundation via AP

The Obama Foundation announced Tuesday that it will pay up to $3.5 million to replace the Jackson Park Athletic Field, hours before a potentially contentious public meeting at McCormick Place.

The move is the latest in the foundation and city agencies getting their ducks in a row for the center’s construction.

Plans for the center were submitted to Chicago’s City Council on Jan. 10. The Chicago Plan Commission is tentatively expected to consider the application in April.

Last Friday, the City Council announced plans to close and reconstruct roads that would cost $175 million.

Earlier this month, the Chicago Park District approved turning parts of Cornell Drive into parkland.

Both plans have drawn pushback from community groups in the past.

Current plans for the presidential center will require the relocation of the field, according to the park district.

The foundation’s public meeting, which starts at 6 p.m., will devote one of its five breakout sessions to the plans for the revamped field.

Other topics include transportation changes, the economic impact of the center, its design and the visitor experience.

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