Chicago Construction News staff writer
A noose was found at the construction site of the new Obama Presidential Center in Chicago last week — halting construction on the $830-million legacy project.
Chicago Police are investigating the incident and Lakeside Alliance, a joint venture of multiple construction companies working on the center, is offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the person “responsible for this shameful act.”
“We are suspending all operations onsite in order to provide another series of these trainings and conversations for all staff and workers,” the company said in a statement, referencing anti-bias training that is part of its onboarding process.
“We are horrified that this would occur on our site … Lakeside Alliance remains committed to providing a work environment where everyone can feel safe, be their best self, and is treated with dignity and respect.”
Construction on the Obama Presidential Center, located in Jackson Park, started last year, and the center is set to include a museum, public library branch and outdoor space when completed in 2026.
“This shameless act of cowardice and hate is designed to get attention and divide us,” the foundation said in a statement. “Our priority is protecting the health and safety of our workforce. We have notified authorities who are investigating the incident.”
The project has been delayed and in 2019 a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit and ruled that construction should begin immediately. The lawsuit was brought by environmentalists who opposed public land being used for a private project.
Construction started in September 2021.
Gov. JB Pritzker condemned the incident.
“I condemn this act of hate in the strongest possible terms, and the state of Illinois will make all needed resources available to help catch the perpetrators,” Pritzker wrote on Twitter.
“Hate has no place in Illinois. The noose is more than a symbol of racism, it is a heart-stopping reminder of the violence and terror inflicted on Black Americans for centuries.”