March 9, 2015

Obama library decision postponed until after mayoral runoff election

The Obama Foundation, which is in charge of the logistics and fundraising for the Obama presidential library, has delayed the final decision regarding the location of the library until after the mayoral runoff election on April 7.

Sources close to the Foundation told the Associated Press that they did not want the library to factor into the election. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has played a major role in urging President Obama to select Chicago as the location for the library and proposed the transfer of parkland to city control after the Foundation expressed concerns that neither the city nor the University owned the land on the proposed sites.

Emanuel’s opponent, Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, initially opposed using parkland for the library. But last week he reversed his position, saying that “whatever the final decision is made by the selection committee and President Obama, I will support.”

Meanwhile, the Chicago Plan Commission approved the transfer of parkland for the University’s Obama library proposal on Monday, inching it closer to full City Hall approval.

The Commission, appointed by Emanuel, deals with the city’s planning and land use and works within the Department of Planning and Development.

A City Council committee meeting will consider the proposal on Wednesday, and the full City Council will vote on it next Wednesday, March 18.