Obama presidential library to come to the South Side

The decision comes after the Illinois State Legislature passed a bill to allow the city to build museums on parkland.

By Ankit Jain

CBS Chicago and several other news outlets have reported that the Barack Obama Foundation has chosen the University of Chicago to host the Obama Presidential Library. NBC News reports that the decision of whether to place the library in Jackson Park or Washington Park has not yet been made.

The choice comes after the Illinois State Legislature passed a bill last Thursday to preempt a lawsuit that was threatened by the park advocacy group Friends of the Park due to the library’s possible location in public parkland. The legislation gives Chicago the express approval to construct museums on parkland and “formerly submerged lands.” Governor Bruce Rauner has not yet signed the legislation.

CBS Chicago reports that Obama called House Majority Leader Mike Madigan and Mayor Rahm Emanuel last Friday thanking them for passing the legislation. In the phone call, Obama strongly hinted that the library would be in Chicago. CBS says that several sources with knowledge of the situation had confirmed that the library would be on Chicago’s South Side.

The official announcement on the library’s location will occur two weeks from now, according to CBS. The announcement was supposed to be made by the end of March, but was delayed due to the mayoral runoff election between Emanuel and Chuy Garcia, since the Obama Foundation did not want its decision to be politicized.

University News Office spokesperson Jeremy Manier declined to comment on the news report, and the Barack Obama Foundation could not be reached at this time for comment. The University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia University, and the University of Hawaii were the other three finalists to host the library.