Report: Chicago to be Site of Obama Presidential Library


Chicago helped build the political career of President Barack Obama. Now, the Windy City will be home to his presidential library, according to reports in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune.

“Mr. Obama’s library will be in his adopted home, Chicago’s South Side, according to two people who were briefed about the decision. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak before the official announcement,” Julie Bosman and Jonathan Martin write in the New York Times.

The library — which was always favored to be located in Chicago — was also considered in New York City and Hawaii. New York is home to Columbia University, where the president received his undergraduate degree before going on to Harvard Law School. Hawaii is the state where the president was born.

Obama’s career in politics began in Illinois as a community organizer and later as a state senator. The South Side of Chicago was his long-time home, along with First Lady Michelle Obama, who is a native Chicagoan.

Both the University of Illinois – Chicago and the University of Chicago competed with rival plans. The University of Chicago bid, however, was met with resistance over the use of Chicago city park land for the presidential library building. State law protects park land from development projects.

Ultimately, the Illinois legislature stepped in to head off a potential lawsuit.

“We just want to make sure that there’s no issue with regard to Chicago being able to be chosen,” Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, told the Chicago Tribune. “Obviously there were some concerns about our competition in New York having a clearer ownership issue with the land.”

A specific site in Chicago was not named in the New York Times report. The official announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

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