CHICAGO-- It appears president Obama's Library will be built on the south side. Sources telling multiple news agencies that Chicago beat out New York and Hawaii for the library.
This is one of those stories where there are things we know, things we think we know and things we don’t know.
One thing we do know for sure, is the University of Chicago’s bid for the library included 20 to 21 acres in either Washington or Jackson park, while sources tell the Tribune that bid was the winner we don't know which park the Obama Foundation may have chosen.
At the urging of Mayor Rahm Emanuel--we do know the state passed a bill governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill this afternoon that paved the way for the park land to be used.
That’s not making the friends of the park happy or those who use the park land
We do know, no tax payers’ dollars will be used to build the library the 100's of millions of dollars was raised by the Obama Foundation--but we also know tax payers’ dollars will be used to maintain the library. Members of the Washington Park Advisory Council are happy to hear the park may be the site picked but not with the university it’s going to align itself with.
Anothy Clark is the author of a book about presidential libraries and he says history tells us at this point we should still be very careful about what we think we know.
“Other presidents have had some many problems with their locations, I mean Richard Nixon held a ground breaking ceremony in 1984 and that location and that site is still vacant he had to build it somewhere else.
He says we should also think twice about believing the presidential library will be an economic boom the mayor and others have talked about. He says the Clinton Library in little rock may be the exception to the rule.
By and large other cities and towns either have not been able to identify specific gains or not been able to show gains based on tourism dollars.
What it lacks Clark says in economic benefits however he knows it will be made up for in educational and research opportunities.
The University of Chicago didn’t answer the phone today, the mayor’s office told us to call Obama Foundation and the foundation told us to wait until the official announcement on May 11th.