Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Thursday, May 4, 2017.
The Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park will be "a complex of modern buildings along Stony Island Avenue—a library, museum and event center, plus a community garden, a children's play area and potentially an athletic field," according to the Sun-Times. Former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama wanted "create something for the future, something that looked forward, not backwards," he said when revealing the designs for the center Wednesday. The foundation is considering opening a branch of the Chicago Public Library on the grounds of the center as well. The Obamas also announced that they are donating $2 million to a local summer jobs program. [Sun-Times]
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has vowed that he will block the state from selling the Thompson Center in the Loop until he's sure that local taxpayers won't have to pay for rebuilding the CTA station below the building. "I'm not going to stick that tab on Chicago taxpayers," the mayor said at an event Tuesday. "Why would I do that to Chicago taxpayers?" In response Eleni Demertzis, a spokesman for Governor Bruce Rauner, charged that Emanuel is "trying to distract from the real issue—which is the city being greedy and trying to ext or the state taxpayers for more money than what the property is worth." Rauner wants to sell the state-owned 30-year-old building to generate as much as $220 million in revenue, envisioning a skyscraper as tall as 115 stories. That would be barred by the current rules and would require special approval by the City Council, effectively giving the mayor and aldermen veto power. [DNAinfo Chicago]
Chicago police detective Cherie Hendricks has been arrested twice for shoplifting but has not faced any discipline from the Chicago Police Department until recently. According to CBS Chicago, Hendricks was most recently "arrested at a Louisiana Walmart on Christmas Eve for stealing $113.50 worth of reading glasses and coffee mugs." In 2013 she was arrested for taking more than $200 in vitamins from a Whole Foods in Lakeview. CPD opened an internal investigation at the time, but no action was taken until CBS Chicago started asking questions recently, and Hendricks continued to receive a salary of more than $90,000. Now the investigation has been closed, and CPD is recommending that she be fired. The matter next goes to the Chicago Police Board. [CBS News] [CBS Chicago]
Columbia College Chicago is building its first student center at Eighth Street and Wabash Avenue in late 2018. The cost of the 114,000-square-foot center is estimated at around $50 million. "The new center will be a cornerstone of the student experience at Columbia," the school's president, Kwang-Wu Kim, said in a statement. "Our students have always sought out ways to collaborate and study in informal settings outside the classroom. Now, students will have a place designed especially for them—a welcoming space as distinctive as they are." According to DNAinfo Chicago, "The plans were announced amid falling enrollment and speculation that the school may begin selling real estate in the South Loop to compensate." [DNAinfo Chicago]
FC Barcelona, one of the best soccer teams in the world, has announced that it's opening a training academy in Chicago next year. It will be its fifth in the States and its third run by the global management company ISL Futbol. [ ESPN ]
In honor of Mother's Day, Chicago magazine looks at the complicated logistics behind getting fresh flowers from Colombia to Chicago. According to the magazine, the logistics business is booming in Chicago; one firm alone, C.H. Robinson, coordinates the shipping of a billion dollars' worth of goods every week. [Chicago]