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It's Official: Obama Library Will be on Chicago South Side

  • Associated Press

FILE - President Barack Obama, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

FILE - President Barack Obama, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

President Barack Obama has decided to build his presidential library on the South Side of Chicago, where his political career began.

In a news release, the Barack Obama Foundation announced early Tuesday that the University of Chicago's bid to erect the library on park land near campus was selected over bids made by Columbia University in New York, the University of Hawaii and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The decision was hardly a surprise. The bid was long considered a front-runner, and people with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press and other media nearly two weeks ago that it was the winner.

Both the president and first lady once worked at the university, and they still maintain a house near campus. Obama taught constitutional law and worked as a community organizer on the South Side. First lady Michelle Obama is a Chicago native and worked as an administrator at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

In recent weeks, city officials were forced to take extra steps to reassure foundation officials after they expressed concerns the city had not secured public park land that would be used as part of the University of Chicago bid. The City Council passed an ordinance to allow transfer of the land, and state lawmakers passed a bill reinforcing the city's right to use the park land for the Obama library as well as Star Wars creator George Lucas' proposed lakefront museum.

One remaining question is how the foundation will select between two properties near campus, Washington Park or Jackson Park, both of which are potential sites under the university plan.

Foundation Chairman Marty Nesbitt, a friend of Obama, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are scheduled to appear at a news conference about the library on Tuesday.

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