Chicago Park District holds second hearing for Obama library proposal

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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Park District is holding a second public hearing Wednesday on a proposal to build the Obama Presidential Library on park district land.

A standing room only crowd filled the Washington Park Field House for Wednesday's hearing. Hundreds packed the first hearing at Hyde Park Academy Tuesday night.

Before the hearing even got started, protesters out front voiced their frustrations.

“How dare they be so willing to house a library, but not even think about the level one trauma center the community has continuously asked for,” said Emily Garrett, a protester.

The University of Chicago has two proposals, one to build the library in Washington Park and the other in Jackson Park.

The library foundation is concerned U of C does not own the land.

Mayor Emanuel wants the park district to give city hall control of it, to strengthen Chicago's bid.

“For Rahm to come out at the last moment and say we're going to find a way to work this out, go to the City Council, basically give away the land or work out a trade-off agreement; it's unacceptable," says Ald. Bob Fioretti, a candidate for Chicago Mayor. "We should be preserving our park land in this city.

But some residents at the public hearing said they are all for developing park land for the project.

“It's time to vote yes to building the Obama library on the South Side of Chicago,” said Leon Finney, a library supporter. “It's time to vote to invest $600 million in our neighborhoods now."

UIC also submitted a bid on behalf of Chicago. Columbia University in New York and the University of Hawaii, are also in the running.

The Obamas are expected to make a decision in March.

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