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City to Hold Public Meetings for Potential Obama Library Sites

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Chicago's bids for the future Obama Presidential Library are in murky waters at the moment, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel is rushing to save the city's bids. Last week, the Obama Foundation hinted to City Hall and the Chicago institutions vying for the library that their bids are in danger due to their proposals' use of land owned by the Chicago Parks District. Ideally, the foundation would prefer to work directly with City Hall on the project, and since the Obama Foundation dropped the bomb a week ago, the mayor has been angling to save the city's bids. For Chicago to remain in the running, City Hall will have to take possession of the land owned by the Chicago Parks District, but the advocacy group Friends of the Parks is poised to put up a fight similar to what is currently happening with the proposed Lucas Museum near Solider Field. However, instead of just outright snatching up the land, the city is hosting a series of public meetings to discuss the plan to acquire public lands for the future library and museum.

According to Greg Hinz of Crain's , the first meeting will take place on the evening of Tuesday, January 13 at Hyde Park Academy High School to discuss a site near the University of Chicago campus that the university seeks to utilize for the future presidential library. Then on Wednesday, January 14, another meeting will be held, this time at the Washington Park Fieldhouse to discuss a plan to use land near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Garfield Boulevard for the library. In addition to announcing the meetings, the city has decided to axe a third proposal for South Shore Cultural Center in Jackson Park. Will the meetings actually seek input from the public, or will they just be a charade for the city to claim that it's been transparent during the process? It's hard to say at this point, however it's almost certain that the meetings are sure to draw a large attendance and will provide some new insight on the city's plans.
·Emanuel scrambles to shore up Obama library bid [Crain's]
·Emanuel poised to announce plans for land acquisition for presidential library [Sun-Times]
·Major Flaws Are Threatening Chicago's Obama Library Bids [Curbed Chicago]