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Friends Of The Parks Threatens Lawsuit If Obama Picks U Of C Library Bid

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 17, 2015 10:45PM

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The park land advocacy group Friends of the Parks sent their version of a strongly worded letter to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama threatening legal action if the Barack Obama Foundation chooses the University of Chicago’s bid for the Obama Presidential Library.

The letter, published in full here, appealed to the president’s “thoughtful judgment, as a former local community organizer and international leader who represents and espouses equality and change, that a potential lawsuit is not the foundation upon which to build an institution which represents the legacy of your life’s achievements.”

Friends of the Parks has been vocal about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to transfer over 20 acres of parkland to the university if the Obama Foundation chooses U of C’s bid for the library. The Chicago Park District board, after a grueling eight hours of discussion on the proposal in two public hearings, unanimously approved to transfer the park land last week, a move the Obama Foundation said “improves Chicago’s bids for the Obama Presidential Center.”

Friends of the Parks requested a meeting with the president when he’s in town Thursday to officially announce the Historic Pullman District will become a National Monument. Anyone who thinks the group is bluffing need only look at their lawsuit seeking to block Mayor Emanuel’s plan to give 17 acres of lakefront property (or “a parking lot,” if you prefer) to the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art to build a giant place for George Lucas’ stuff.

[Buzzfeed, Sun-Times]