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OK, Now it's Official: Obama Library Coming to the South Side

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After months of speculation and then weeks of reports that the Obama Foundation had chosen Chicago for the presidential library, Michelle and Barack have spoken: the Obama Presidential Center is indeed coming to the South Side. Over the last couple of weeks, local and national media outlets had been reporting leaks from sources close to the Obamas that identified the University of Chicago's bid as the winner. However, early this morning the Obamas released a video and some updates on the Obama Foundation website to make the news truly official.

In the video, the Obamas explain why Chicago is so important to them. Chicago is the city where they met, where their children were born and also the city where Barry O. got his start as a community organizer and got his feet wet in politics. The Obamas see their decision as a way of giving back to the city that has given them so much. "With a library and a foundation on the south side of Chicago, not only will we be able to encourage and affect change locally," the President says in the new video, "but what we can also do is attract the world to Chicago."

[There's still a lot to do]

After reports began to declare Chicago as the winner earlier this month, there were still a lot of questions remaining and many of these questions still do not have answers. However, the library won't be built overnight and many of these lingering questions and concerns will be addressed in the coming months. While the Obamas have announced their decision to select Chicago as the home of the library, it's still unclear whether the library and museum will be built in Jackson Park or Washington Park. However, the Obamas have indicated that this decision, along with announcing the lead architect for the project will come at some point in the near future.

The decision is a big one for Chicago's south side, as the library is likely to inject hundreds of millions of dollars into construction and permanent jobs. But not all participants are walking away empty-handed. The Obama Foundation wants to find a way to continue working long term with Columbia University in New York and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), two institutions that submitted bids for the library. The Obamas also plan on giving back to Hawaii, vowing to "establish a lasting presence in Honolulu."

Martin Nesbitt, a close friend and colleague of the Obamas will hold a press conference to further discuss the library decision today at noon.


[Rendering from the University of Chicago's bid]


[Rendering from the University of Chicago's bid]


[The library is coming to one of these two sites]

·Sweet Home Chicago! [Obama Foundation]
·Obama Foundation Announces South Side as Home for Library [Youtube]
·Obamas announce Sweet Home Chicago for presidential library center [Sun-Times]
·Video: Obamas announce library coming to South Side [Crain's]
·After Months of Speculation, the Obama Presidential Library is Coming to Chicago's South Side [Curbed Chicago]
·Will David Adjaye Design the Obama Presidential Library? [Curbed]
·All previous Obama Library coverage [Curbed Chicago]

University of Chicago

5801 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637