Obama's Presidential Library To Be Built On Chicago's South Side
By Lisa White in News on May 12, 2015 12:55PM
The Barack Obama Foundation announced early Tuesday morning the home of the future Presidential Library— the South Side of Chicago. The Barack Obama Presidential Center will include a museum, library and office space for the Foundation's activities and events. Other site contenders won't be left out either, with the Foundation planning on maintaining a presence at Columbia University "for the purpose of exploring and developing opportunities for a long-term association" as well as working with the state of Hawaii to establish a lasting presence in Honolulu. Additionally the Foundation will explore possible collaborations with the University of Illinois-Chicago, of the the other site contenders. Not too shabby of a consolation prize for those cities and sites that didn't make the cut.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama shared their love for the South Side and their excitement for bringing the library back to a place that means so much to them. “All the strands of my life came together and I really became a man, when I moved to Chicago,” President Obama said in the videotaped announcement. “That’s where I was able to apply that early idealism to try to work in communities in public service."
The South Side pick isn't a surprise to many, despite efforts to keep the location elsewhere. The University of Chicago worked hard in their efforts to bring the library to the South Side. Earlier this year the Chicago Park District backed a plan by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to transfer over 20 acres of parkland to U of C if the university won the bid for the Presidential Library, land the institution did not own. After the leader of Friends of the Parks, the most vocal group opposing the library's location on the South Side, stepped down earlier this year and Illinois lawmakers fast tracked a bill that would make it easier for Chicago to win the bid, a bill that would allow the city to build on parkland or "formerly submerged lands," it seemed to be a done deal the city. At the end of April, NBC News stated the library would in fact be located in Chicago, with most locals placing any bets on the Foundation choosing the South Side as its future home.
Although the exact location is still undecided, it will be built either on Jackson or Washington Park, which are both located near Hyde Park, the Obama mainstay during their time in Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the chairman of the Foundation's board and officials are set to discuss the decision during an event Tuesday afternoon.