Obama Center’s neighbors rally for property tax freeze, new affordable housing formula

A rendering of the Obama Center in Woodlawn, Chicago (Credit: The Obama Foundation)

A rendering of the Obama Center in Woodlawn, Chicago (Credit: The Obama Foundation)

The Obama Center’s future neighbors shut down a Woodlawn intersection Thursday with demands to mitigate what they fear will lead to higher rents and displacement.

More than 100 activists, many clad in Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization gear, chanted “CBA,” and “If we don’t get it, shut it down,” Block Club Chicago reported Friday.

The CBA — a community benefits agreement proposed July 24 — would freeze property taxes in the area and require 30 percent affordable housing on new developments, according to Block Club.

The push comes as the new library and community center threatens to drive up the cost of living and property taxes, potentially displacing current Woodlawn residents.

The ordinance would need to be approved by both Cook County and the City Council to place all demands in effect, according to Block Club.

A study released Thursday showed that new apartments around the Obama Center would be too expensive for current Woodlawn residents, and a city review in July predicted that the center could negatively impact Jackson Park.

Last year, a nonprofit group Protect Our Parks sued to block the center, claiming the violation of city and state law codes, but failed to stop the development. Numerous other objections include gentrification and parking.

[Block Club] — Sarah Paynter

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