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Obama Foundation delays presidential center groundbreaking until next year

• chicagotribune.com By Lolly Bowean

Instead of starting construction later this year, the foundation is now saying they plan to break ground for the half-billion-dollar project sometime in 2019. Officials avoided setting a specific date during the year. They also would not say if this will change their timeline for building the center, which was once slated to open in 2021.

"We have a sense of urgency about this project (and) when we started, we wanted the public to know we would break ground as soon as possible," said Michael Strautmanis, the vice president for civic engagement for the foundation. "But we also knew there were some things that were not in our control. We insist on going through the process with integrity and without rushing."

Before the presidential center can be built, the federal government will review its impact on Jackson Park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and evaluate the project's environmental effects. Any impact that the review highlights will have to be resolved before construction can be allowed.


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