Obama Center teams up with Chicago Botanic Garden


CHICAGO, IL – MAY 03: Former President Barack Obama points out features of the proposed Obama Presidential Center, which is scheduled to be built in nearby Jackson Park, during a gathering at the South Shore Cultural Center on May 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Presidential Center design envisions three buildings, a museum, library and forum. Obama was accompanied at the event by his wife Michelle who was making her first trip back to Chicago since leaving the White House in January. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (AP) — The planned Obama Presidential Center is getting design advice from the Chicago Botanic Garden.

The Obama Foundation recently announced the partnership. Foundation officials say the Chicago Botanic Garden will offer expertise in designing and operating a fruit and vegetable garden at the presidential complex on the city’s South Side.

Center officials say the move is among multiple “sustainability-minded” design elements. That includes stormwater retention to allow for reusing water, repurposing existing trees, and plans that’ll support migratory bird populations.

A new Chicago Public Library branch at the center will also have a rooftop garden where young people will be able to learn.

Preliminary work on the construction of the center is set to begin this month. The groundbreaking is planned for September.

The multibuilding center will cover nearly 20 acres of Jackson Park near Lake Michigan. The plan calls for changing adjacent roads in and around the park.

Groundbreaking for the center has been delayed for years because of a lawsuit challenging the use of public parkland and federal review needed because the center is being placed in a historic park. Activists were also concerned about displacing area residents, which led the City Council to approve housing protections.

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