- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2018

Activists protesting the Obama Presidential Center were forcibly removed by security officers from a Chicago Plan Commission meeting Thursday.

Nearly two dozen residents were removed after they interrupted the meeting and chanted, “Do not vote to approve the Obama center,” The Chicago Tribune reported.

Protesters want the Obama Foundation to sign a community-benefits agreement to guarantee the hiring of local residents. They also are asking for a property-tax freeze for residents who live near the project, and for setting aside 30 percent of all new residential housing for lower-income residents.

Former President Barack Obama has resisted signing such an agreement.

Linda Tinsley told the Tribune that she fears the presidential center will increase housing costs in Woodlawn, South Shore and Washington Park.

“Woodlawn has a lot of older residents. We have a lot of older stakeholders and older renters,” she said. “People have been there for decades. … People are used to living where they are at.”

She fears if housing costs increase, residents will be forced to move.

The Obama Foundation is scheduled to appear before the Plan Commission in May to present its vision to transform Jackson Park with the $300-million-plus presidential library and center. The foundation hopes to break ground later this year.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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