Free Press Journal

Obama presidential library to come up in Chicago


Washington Barack Obama’s Presidential Library will be located in his home town of Chicago, where the first black American President began his political career.

“With a library and a foundation on the south side of Chicago, not only will we be able to encourage and affect change locally but what we can also do is to attract the world to Chicago,” Obama said in a video message.

Chicago is the home town of Obama and First lady Michelle. The Obama Presidential Center, which will include the presidential library, museum, and office and activity space for the Obama Foundation, will be located on Chicago’s South Side.The foundation has narrowed its choices to two possible sites — one in Jackson Park and one in the Washington Park.

In its announcement, the Obama Foundation said it wil look to enter into an agreement with the city of Chicago in the coming months to develop the center at one of the two sites.

The University of Chicago would collaborate with the Obama Foundation to have the presidential library within its campus. Chicago was long the front runner in the bids for the project.

According to organisers of the winning bid, the project could be worth USD 600 million during construction and later bring USD 200 million to the city.

“I am thrilled to put this resource in the heart of the neighbourhood that means the world to me,” Michelle said.

In choosing the South Side, the Barack Obama Foundation cited the opportunity to make a transformative economic impact, intense community support for the project, the area’s rich history and connection with the Obamas, proximity to the Chicago University, easy access to transportation options and the chance to inspire young people in Chicago and around the world.

Martin Nesbitt, chairman of the Barack Obama Foundation, said the Obama Presidential Center will be “a dynamic, vibrant forum for civic participation, education, action and progress.”

“The city of Chicago was instrumental in demonstrating to the President and First Lady the advantages of locating the future Obama Presidential Center in the city, and the University of Chicago brought to life the broad potential and vital energy of the South Side,” Nesbitt said.

“We are deeply appreciative that President Obama, Mrs Obama, and the Barack Obama Foundation selected Chicago’s South Side as the home for the Obama Presidential Center, a decision that creates major opportunities for the South Side and the city of Chicago,” said University of Chicago President Robert J Zimmer.

“This is a great day for the City of Chicago and the South Side,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We have a deep connection to the First Family and we are thrilled that they have decided to bring their legacy home through the Obama Presidential Center. It will bring tremendous opportunities to the South Side that will benefit the entire city,” he said.