Sweet Home Chicago! Obama Museum Goes to South Side
PHOTO: Chicago's South Side will get the Obama Presidential Museum and Library. (Courtesy of City of Chicago)
Chicago tourism got a shot in the arm with news that Barack Obama’s presidential museum and library will be based on the city’s South Side, where he and the first lady have deep roots.
The Barack Obama Foundation selected The Windy City in partnership with the University of Chicago. The South Side won out over bids by other finalists, including the University of Hawaii, Columbia University in New York, and the University of Illinois-Chicago.
“With a library and a foundation on the South Side of Chicago, not only will we be able to encourage and affect change locally, but what we can also do is attract the world to Chicago,” Obama said in a videotaped announcement posted on YouTube.
The future Barack Obama Presidential Center, which would be built with private funds and no taxes or university money, will be located on one of two sites, in Jackson Park or Washington Park. Either will be in the “heart of the neighborhood that means the world to me,” Michelle Obama said in the video. “I consider myself a South Sider.”
Here's the video announcement:
The presidential museum and library could draw more than 800,000 visitors when complete, including 350,000 from outside the Chicago area, according to an April 2014 study by Anderson Economic Group commissioned by the University of Chicago.
The visitors would bring additional spending of $31 million on food and retail to the neighborhood near the library, enough to support 30 new restaurants, 11 new retail outlets, and a new hotel. Visitors to the city would spend about $110 million in all in the city that would not be spent otherwise, the study said.
“This is a great day for the city of Chicago and the South Side,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “We have a deep connection to the First Family, and we are thrilled that they have decided to bring their legacy home through the Obama Presidential Center. It will bring tremendous opportunities to the South Side that will benefit the entire city.”
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