The Obama family is set to stay in Washington D.C. until youngest daughter Sasha Obama graduates from high school, but a big part of President Barack Obama’s legacy will find a home in Chicago.
There has not yet been a formal announcement, but sources say the Obama Presidential Center will be located in Jackson Park, a 543-acre plot designed back in the 19th century. The library will house Obama’s presidential papers and a museum focused on his time in office. The Obama Foundation will raise money to build the library. Then the national Office of Presidential Libraries—which operates the 13 existing repositories, celebrating each president going back to Herbert Hoover—will run the institution.
While many see the library as a boon to the historically Black neighborhood, others are disappointed that nearby Washington Park didn’t get the nod.
“I am very, very, very, very disappointed” by the selection of Jackson Park, said Jacky Grimshaw, vice president for policy at the Center for Neighborhood Technology, which helps low- and moderate-income families. Washington Park would have benefited much more from the economic boost the library is expected to deliver, she said.
U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), whose district includes Jackson Park, told the Tribune that she welcomes the development. “I think it’s a benefit to the South Side of Chicago, period,” she said. “No matter which park it’s in, it’s good for the South Side and uplifting to have a presidential library there.”
The library is expected to open in 2021.