New report raises questions on Obama library deal

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CHICAGO -- Many Chicagoans are thrilled that President Obama's library will be built in Chicago, but in the current issue of the online publication The Baffler, a veteran journalist takes a critical look at the deal to bring the library to Chicago.

It was a triumphant announcement: Chicago winning the bid to host President Obama's library. It will be on the South Side, where Obama's political journey began. But not everyone is enthusiastic.

Reporter and historian Rick Perlstein is raising questions about the library and host University of Chicago.  On Saturday WGN spoke with Perlstein at Washington Park, one of the two proposed sites for the project.

Although the Washington Park site is private land owned by the University of Chicago, it is still a valuable green area on the South Side.

But of even greater concern to Perlstein is the surrounding community. He fears people who live near the park, most of them poor, will be displaced.

One study suggests the library will create almost 2,000 jobs and bring in more than $200 million in annual revenue. But Perlstein isn't so sure.

Presidential libraries have a history of not paying out the promises that they make in order to get built.

The politics are complicated, but most South Siders can't wait to welcome President Obama home.



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