Backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the University of Chicago and City Hall are making moves to ensure that the city's proposals for the Obama Presidential Library stay in the running. Prompted by the Obama Foundation last week, City Hall is looking to take possession of land owned by the Chicago Park District that the University of Chicago has focused its plans on for the future library and museum. Earlier this week, the mayor announced that the city will be hosted a series of community meetings to discuss the University of Chicago's plans, but the proposal had still yet to be seen by the public. However, yesterday afternoon, the Hyde Park institution finally dropped some hints and a few renderings for its South Side Obama Presidential Library bid.
According to officials from the university, the U of C had initially looked at 20 potential sites but narrowed their plan down to three locations. However, the mayor has axed the lakefront South Shore Cultural Center site due do its potential of becoming yet another controversial battle over public land along the lakefront. The two remaining locations are a 22 acre site in Washington Park and a 21 acre site in Jackson Park.
The U of C also says that its proposal is heavy on green space and that it recommends that the final plan for library "should be park-positive." The university says that the locations align with the requirements the Obama Foundation initially laid out last March, specifically regarding locations that could see a major economic impact and redevelopment from the library. And although the property that the University of Chicago wants to use for the library and museum is currently part of the Chicago Park District system, the university says that either site would be a "relatively small footprint for a presidential library" considering that the "last three presidential libraries have an average of 50 acres each."
·Barack Obama Presidential Library offers historic opportunity for South Side parks [University of Chicago]
·University of Chicago finally reveals Obama Presidential Library parks plan [Sun-Times]
·U. of C. plans: Obama library in the park [Tribune]
·City to Hold Public Meetings for Potential Obama Library Sites [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Obama library coverage [Curbed Chicago]