Jackson Park Selected as Site of Obama Library
The South Side Chicago location was chosen over Washington Park.
The Chicago Tribune reports that President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have selected Jackson Park on the city’s south side as the future home for the Obama Presidential Center. RECORD confirmed the news with a source familiar with the decision-making process.
The library will will occupy a stretch of green space in the lagoon-streaked, 500-acre park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, home to the famous White City of the 1893 Columbian Exposition.
On June 30, the Barack Obama Foundation named the New York-based, husband/wife team Tod Williams and Billie Tsien as the library’s architects. At the time, it was still considering another site, Washington Park, located less than two miles west.
Logistically speaking, Jackson park is the easier choice: The site is conveniently located near Lake Shore Drive, a commuter rail line, and the Museum of Science of Industry, which last year attracted approximately 1.5 million visitors. It also abuts the gentrifying corridors surrounding the University of Chicago campus.
But the selection could also be a missed opportunity for the improvement of neglected communities to the west and south of Washington Park, a more isolated area long-plagued by high crime rates and pocked by vacant lots.
According to the source, a formal announcement will be made in the coming days.
This article was updated 7/27/16 at 5:20 p.m. EDT to reflect new information.