A group that has long opposed the construction of the Obama Presidential Library on the grounds of a Chicago park called on the Supreme Court on Tuesday to suspend work on the project.
Several local residents and a nonprofit called Protect Our Parks argued in court documents that given the location of the library in Jackson Park on the south side of the city, the federal government had failed to conduct the required environmental assessments.
The construction of the library would “destroy substantial parts of Jackson Park, its historical resources, parkland and trees, which in turn adversely affects the human environment, historical landscape, wildlife and migratory birds,” the group argued in court documents.
Protect Our Parks said in a statement in June that the construction of the library would put the park’s “historical and environmental elements” in “imminent danger”.
“In addition, any removal of trees or the destruction of roads, viewpoints and the landscape in Jackson Park is irrevocable,” the statement said.
In one sweeping move, the group filed an emergency application addressed to Amy Coney Barrett, the judiciary assigned to that part of the country.
However, a federal judge and the 7th U.S. Appeals Court recently declined to stop construction. Work began on Monday to clear the way for the Obama Presidential Center.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the park was designed in 1871 by noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also planned New York’s Central Park and helped design the grounds of the US Capitol.
The Obama library did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Obama tweeted enthusiastically about the project in February.
“I am proud to announce that the Obama Presidential Center will officially break the ground in 2021,” he wrote. “Our hope is that the center will bring new life to historic Jackson Park while creating jobs, growth and more for the South Side. Let’s get to work.”