US judge: Construction on Obama center should proceed

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Nearly two years since he left the White House, former President Barack Obama continued his tradition of sharing his top picks for books, movies and songs from the past year Friday.

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CHICAGO – A federal judge in Chicago says he’ll dismiss a lawsuit brought by a parks advocacy group that is trying to stop former President Barack Obama’s presidential center from being built in a lakefront park.

U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey said there should be no delay in building the $500 million center after hearing arguments in court Tuesday. He said a written ruling will follow later Tuesday.

Protect Our Parks argued the city illegally transferred land for a park to The Obama Foundation, a private entity overseeing construction of the center. City lawyers accuse the group of exaggerating potential environmental problems, misreading the law and misrepresenting how the approval works.

The center was supposed to open in 2021, but the lawsuit and a federal review has delayed construction at Jackson Park.

An attorney for the parks organization says they plan to appeal.

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