After years of pushback by park preservationists and community groups concerned about displacement, the Obama Presidential Center is expected to break ground this fall, and the former president visited with residents of the area this week.

“Traditionally I think presidential libraries can be a little backward-looking … kind of a mausoleum in the sense that not much is happening,” Barack Obama said Friday at a virtual event hosted by the Economic Club of Chicago. “Our thought was, well, let’s create an institution that is alive and vibrant and is bringing people together.”

The $500 million center, designed by architects Todd Williams and Billie Tsien, is expected to be located in Jackson Park on the city’s South Side. The center is expected to consist of a museum, forum, public library, plaza, playground and pedestrian and bicycle paths. The Obama Foundation said it hopes the center brings 700,000 people to the South Side every year.