NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama’s future library will apparently be coming to Chicago, despite a bid from Columbia University to bring the library to New York, according to sources in Chicago.
The final confirmation that the library will come to the South Side of Chicago – following a bid from the University of Chicago — was implied in a phone call last Friday to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and state Democratic legislative leaders meeting in his office, WBBM-TV, CBS2 Chicago reported.
The formal announcement is now planned for the week after next, WBBM-TV Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reported. Two sites are under consideration – one at Jackson Park near Chicago’s lakefront, the other in Washington Park west of the U of C campus, CBS Chicago reported.
President Obama, in a phone call to Mayor Emanuel last Friday — both Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton were with him — seemed to telegraph the decision, CBS Chicago reported. The president reportedly thanked them for state legislation passed last week that removed the last obstacles to locating the library on public park land, CBS Chicago reported.
The estimated price tag for the library and museum is a whopping $500 million, CBS Chicago reported. While only $6 million has been raised so far by the Obama Foundation, the project’s backers have deep pockets. The U of C has a $7 billion endowment, while the president is the first $1 billion presidential fundraiser.
The library is expected to create 1,900 permanent jobs in a Chicago community that has struggled, CBS Chicago reported. An estimated $220 million in economic activity would be generated annually.
Along with Columbia, the University of Hawaii had also launched an effort to bring the library to Honolulu. The University of Illinois at Chicago also launched a bid for the library on Chicago’s struggling West Side.
Columbia said little about its proposal and declined to answer questions back in December. But in a statement, the university said last year that it had wanted to put the library in Manhattanville, where Columbia is currently expanding with a satellite campus.
People familiar with Columbia’s proposal, who weren’t authorized to comment publicly and demanded anonymity, said in December that Columbia also had been considering hosting just a part of the broader library project. Mayor Bill de de Blasio seemed to indicate that the city could be satisfied under that scenario when he told reporters at the White House in December, “We would obviously love to host a piece of it.”
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