Final Obama Library Proposals Due Today
It’s anyone’s guess until next year’s decision, but we’re pulling for UIC or UChicago to be the site of the future Obama Presidential Library over University of Hawaii or Columbia in NYC. Mayor Emanuel’s recent endorsement of UIC’s bid doesn’t necessarily spell trouble for UChicago, Curbed Chicago writes, since the mayor pledged his support down south in a letter this summer. (We’re starting to see why a unified bid might have been more sensible.) What he’s offering at UIC: to donate a 23-acre West Side site, spend tens of millions to reopen the Kostner Blue Line nearby, and start a TIF to boost local business and future library construction and maintenance, according to Crain’s.
On the South Side, UChicago has quietly been buying up 26 Washington Park properties, for $18M-plus, since 2008, back when President Obama was just the Democratic nominee, according to DNAinfo. (The university is proposing library sites at Washington Park, the South Shore Cultural Center and Jackson Park.) The 10 acres, along Garfield Boulevard and Martin Luther King Drive, have been called a frontrunner in the library race. The biggest issue so far has been neighborhood support. While a university study said the library could spur 1,900 new jobs and a $200M economic boost, writes DNAinfo, community members have questioned the value of arts and culture spaces like UChicago’s collaboration with Theaster Gates (pictured) over neighborhood needs like grocery stores.