Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled the vision for his presidential library in Chicago, a modern, $500 million project he hopes will be a training ground for future leaders housed in the city that launched his career.
Speaking on the city’s south side near the center’s future site, the former President Obama revealed drawings and a 3-D rendering of a three-structure complex with a public plaza and surrounding park land near the shores of Lake Michigan.
The site is slated to be upwards of 225,000 square feet in size and house a library, museum and forum — as well as classrooms, meeting spaces, a community garden and a recreational area.
The complex will be the latest addition to a national network of presidential libraries — but one the first African American president hopes will be less of a monument than a forward-looking, living institution.
“We don’t want to see some big building that’s dead,” Obama said.
“What we wanted was something that was alive, and that was a hub for activity for the community, for the city, and for the country,” he said.
He highlighted plans for barbecue grills, a spot for winter sledding and a lookout point featuring sweeping views of the lake and skyline.
He also playfully emphasized the importance of an area for basketball, a sport for which his love is well-known.
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