'Iconic location' tipped scale to Jackson Park for Obama library

Posted August 06, 2016

"Michelle and I are thrilled that the Obama Presidential Center will be developed in the heart of Chicago's South Side, a community we call home and that means the world to us", Obama said in a statement released by the Foundation.

The Obama Foundation is set to unveil details about its plan to build Barack Obama's presidential library in a lakeside park in Chicago's South Side. Lucas and members of his museum board abandoned that project - to be located about 6.5 miles north of the Obama library site - in June as a result of protracted litigation by the Chicago-based Friends of the Parks.

The Chicago Park District quickly agreed to donate the land to be used for the library if the president picked Chicago, and the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation clarifying that the library as well as the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art could be built on parkland or the city's lakefront.

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"Friends of the Parks' analysis suggests that there is no realistic legal remedy at this time to protect this public open space from this development", Irizarry said in a prepared statement.

"With its aesthetics, iconic location, historical relevance from the World's Fair, we believe Jackson Park will attract visitors on a national and global level that will bring significant long-term benefits to the South Side", Nesbitt said in announcing the choice Friday.

The group did, however, urge those involved in the Obama library project to find ways to offset environmental impacts or loss of green space to the Jackson Park area.

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Emanuel added, "I think this is an opportunity for the whole city to come together to embrace this opportunity economically, culturally and educationally".

Officials have estimated the library will cost more than $500 million in private donations but could be open by 2020. While Jackson Park runs from the lakefront west to Stony Island, the actual proposed site for the center will be along Stony Island south of 61st Street. "Furthermore, any design should upgrade the park's facilities and preserve existing recreational uses by the public".

This video includes images from Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons and clips from WJLA, WBBM, University of Chicago, City of Chicago TV and the Barack Obama Foundation. Both worked at the nearby University of Chicago, which won the bid for the library a year ago.

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"We admire President Obama's record as a champion of the environment". They considered several places including NY and Hawaii, but ultimately, they settled on Chicago's Jackson Park. "We would like to ensure that any impact on historic Jackson Park will be minimal and preserve the integrity of Frederick Law Olmsted's design".