Chicago Steps Up Push to Win Obama Library

Entities in the city plan to submit five separate bids to host the presidential library.

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President Barack Obama

Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

Four institutions and one individual in Chicago are making a big push for the city to be the home of Barack Obama’s presidential library, with plans to submit separate bids ahead of Monday’s deadline, Pantagraph reports.

The city’s Bronzeville neighborhood, a landmark in the Great Migration, is in competition with the University of Chicago, where President Obama was a law professor and first lady Michelle Obama was an administrator.

Other bidders include Chicago State University and real estate developer Dan McCaffery, who wants the library to anchor a retail and residential lakeside development on the site of a former U.S. Steel plant, the report says. All four locations are on the South Side.

A fifth bid is being submitted by the University of Illinois at Chicago, just west of downtown, the report says.

While Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff in the White House, has not indicated a favorite location, he has indicated that he wants the library to be on the South Side, where Obama came of age as a community organizer.

Chicago is not the only city pushing to house the library. New York City’s Columbia University, where Obama was an undergraduate, and Hawaii, the president’s birthplace, are likely to file proposals by Monday’s deadline for the first round of bidding.

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