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Group asks Supreme Court to block construction of Obama library in historic Chicago park

A federal judge and an appeals court, however, both recently declined to stop the project.
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A group that has long opposed building the Obama presidential library on the site of a Chicago park asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to temporarily stop work on the project.

Several local residents and a nonprofit organization called Protect Our Parks argued in court documents that the federal government failed to perform required environmental reviews, given the location of the library in Jackson Park on the city's South Side.

Building the library would "demolish significant parts of Jackson Park, its historical resources, parkland, and trees, which will, in turn, adversely affect the human environment, the historic landscape, wildlife, and migratory birds," the group argued in court documents.

Protect Our Parks said in a statement in June that construction of the library puts the "historic and environmental elements" of the park in "imminent danger."

"Moreover, any removal of trees or destruction of roadways, vistas, and the landscape in Jackson Park will be irrevocable," the statement said.

In a long-shot move, the group filed an emergency motion directed at Amy Coney Barrett, the justice assigned to that part of the country.

A federal judge and the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, recently declined to stop construction. Work on clearing the way for the Obama Presidential Center began Monday.

The park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was designed in 1871 by the prominent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also planned New York's Central Park and helped lay out the U.S. Capitol grounds.

The Obama Library did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Obama tweeted enthusiastically about the project in February.

"I'm proud to announce that the Obama Presidential Center will officially break ground in 2021," he wrote. "Our hope is that the center will breathe new life into historic Jackson Park while delivering jobs, growth, and much more to the South Side. Let's get to work."