Neighbors ask city to re-open street in front of Obama's Kenwood home

FOX 32 NEWS - Barack Obama has been out of the White House for nearly a month.

But outside the former president's Chicago home, barricades, police and secret service remain.

Now, some neighbors are asking the city to re-open the street in front of Obama’s Kenwood home.

For nearly nine years, the 5000 block of South Greenwood in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood has been locked down. Concrete barricades block traffic from driving through, signs warn pedestrians to stay away and Chicago police and secret service making sure no one gets close to the stately home of former President Obama.

But now that Obama has returned to civilian life in Washington DC, some neighbors say it's time to re-open the street and get rid of the barricades.

"I'd like to see them go. It's kind of an eyesore. And he's not here anymore,” said neighbor Cheri Kenney.

Leaders of a synagogue directly across the street from the former president's home told DNAinfo they've had enough of being surrounded by barricades and re-opening the street would send a message of openness and inclusivity.
"Well my kids go to school here and I don't have a problem with removing them. We don't want a ton of traffic on this block, but I understand the synagogue would like to be more accessible and be a sanctuary of sorts,” said parent Laura Tharsen.

Fourth Ward Alderman Sophia King told FOX 32 the city was prepared to remove the barricades last week, but she put the brakes on it, asking for a traffic study and community input.

The alderman says there's also talk of turning this stretch of Greenwood into a one way street.

Some neighbors say they want to keep the barricades, because they worry without them that the block is going to become a tourist destination, with buses and groups of people with cameras.

Even if the street is fully re-opened, it's likely a security presence will remain, especially when the president and his family are back home in Chicago.

Alderman King says it'll take a few weeks to decide how to handle the re-opening of the street, but the barricades should be gone by summer.