Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

The Obama Foundation, which in recent weeks has reaffirmed its plan to build an aboveground parking garage on parkland at the east end of the Midway Plaisance, did an about-face today, announcing that it “has heard” the voices of protest and will now put the Obama Presidential Center garage underground on land it has already acquired in Jackson Park.

The foundation had argued that the aboveground garage would still be parkland because it was to have been covered with grass.  Among those questioning that claim were Save the Midway, Friends of the Parks, the Cultural Landscape Foundation, and Jackson Park Watch.

Here’s the foundation’s statement, e-mailed by a spokesman for the foundation:

“From the beginning of the planning process, President Obama and the Foundation have consistently made clear that the community is our partner in the development, design, and construction of the Obama Presidential Center. After numerous meetings with the community and other valued stakeholders over the past months, the Foundation understands that many of those voices feel strongly that the parking for the OPC should be located within the OPC campus in Jackson Park. The Foundation has heard those voices, and has decided to locate the OPC’s parking underground in Jackson Park.

“During this process, we thoroughly evaluated several options for the parking facility, including on site at Jackson Park. We appreciate the community interest in the site at the east end of the Midway and look forward to continuing to work with local community groups and residents on ways to improve it and make more it accessible.

“The parking facility at Jackson Park will be located under the southern portion of the campus, between the Library Building and the proposed Athletic Center. Entry and exit from the garage will be on the east side of Stony Island Avenue and aligned with 61st Street. The facility will accommodate approximately 400-450 cars for OPC visitors and staff. This parking facility has the advantage of allowing the OPC to stay within the boundaries of Jackson Park, and providing accessible, on-site access to families, and other visitors.”