Chicago’s lead attorney says the city is pleased a federal judge will expedite hearings on a lawsuit challenging the planned construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, the Associated Press reports.
Responding to U.S. district judge John Blakey‘s order allowing the Protect Our Parks lawsuit to proceed, corporation counsel Ed Siskel said he is glad the judge dismissed some of the lawsuit’s claims.
Blakey denied the plaintiffs’ claim that their First Amendment rights would be violated if tax money is used to construct a building to promote former President Barack Obama’s political interests.
The judge also found no merit in the plaintiffs’ claim they would suffer because of aesthetic and environmental harm to Jackson Park. Blakey says his ruling “does not address the true facts of this case.”
Despite these observations, the litigation has thrown a wrench into plans to start work the $500 million project.
Under the agreement between the Obama Foundation and the city, the building is to be constructed with private funds, but ownership will be transferred to the city without charge. The Obama foundation would control and pay for the building’s operation.
Lakeside Alliance will be the center’s construction manager. The alliance is a joint venture consisting of the Presidential Partners consortium, which consists of Powers & Sons Construction, UJAMAA Construction, Brown & Momen, and Safeway Construction, partnering with Turner Construction Company.