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Obama's Presidential Library Will Be Located In Jackson Park

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 27, 2016 6:27PM

(The President and First Lady announce the location of the future home of the Barack Obama Presidential Library./ Photo: Youtube screengrab)

President Barack Obama’s library and museum appears to have found a home—and it’s not where you may have thought.

Jackson Park will be home to the Obama Presidential Center, the Tribune reported on Wednesday. Washington Park was long considered to be a leading contender as the site, but it appears that the Obama complex will take root a little bit further southeast. Jackson Park is located east of S. Stony Island Ave, just south of the Museum of Science and Industry and east of the lake. The park, located in Kenwood, is 500-plus acres; and the Center could open the door to additional museum development, according to the report.

The Obamas announced in May of last year that the complex—which will include a library, museum and space for the Obama Foundation—would take home on the city’s South Side. “All the strands of my life came together and I really became a man, when I moved to Chicago,” Obama said in the announcement. “That’s where I was able to apply that early idealism to try to work in communities in public service."

But since that time, the actual location has been undetermined until Wednesday.

The plan will likely cost $500 million and require approximately 21 acres of land. Illinois lawmakers in April of 2015 passed a bill that makes it easier for the city to build on Chicago parkland. Before it passed, Friends of the Park, under then-leader Cassandra Francis, had been a vociferous opponent to the proposed park-space locations—if you can imagine that.

It was announced last month that New York architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien would design the library and museum, with assistance from Chicago-based Interactive Design Architects.

The full Tribune piece, which includes thoughtful consideration on how the expected announcement, could potentially have opposite effects going forward for the underserved Washington Park neighborhood and "beginning to gentrify Woodlawn"—can be read here. A formal announcement is reportedly anticipated for next week.