Statement by Charles A. Birnbaum, President & CEO of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, concerning the Chicago City Council’s vote in favor of the Obama Presidential Center – May 23, 2018:

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Statement by Charles A. Birnbaum, President & CEO of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, concerning the Chicago City Council’s vote in favor of the Obama Presidential Center – May 23, 2018:

Statement by Charles A. Birnbaum, President & CEO of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, concerning the Chicago City Council’s vote in favor of the Obama Presidential Center – May 23, 2018:
May 23, 2018

Media Contact: Nord Wennerstrom | T: 202.483.0553  | M: 202.225.7076 | E: nord@tclf.org


“The City Council’s rubber-stamping of the Obama Presidential Center was totally expected,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, President & CEO of The Cultural Landscape Foundation in Washington, D.C., adding: “For all the talk of transparency, the Obama Foundation has never answered one essential question: Why MUST National Register-designated public parkland be taken for the OPC when other options exist?”

A note about the federal reviews of the Obama Presidential Center:

The Obama Presidential Center is subject to federal-level reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, and compliance with the Urban Parks Recreation Recovery (UPARR) program.  These federal reviews come with stringent requirements and outright prohibitions that could affect the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation is an “official consulting party” to the federal review process.  In addition, Mr. Birnbaum, during his tenure with the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. (1992-2007), authored the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes, which has direct bearing on the federal review of the Obama Presidential Center.

Jackson Park is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. (famed for New York City’s Central Park), who is also the designer of Chicago’s Midway Plaisance and Washington Park.

About The Cultural Landscape Foundation

The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1998 to connect people to places. TCLF educates and engages the public to make our shared landscape heritage more visible, identify its value, and empower its stewards. Through its website, publishing, lectures, and other events, TCLF broadens support for, and understanding of, cultural landscapes.