CHICAGO (AP) – President Barack Obama’s presidential library will be built in a park on Chicago’s South Side along the shores of Lake Michigan and a short walk from the university where Obama once taught, a person familiar with the selection process told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The Barack Obama Foundation decided to build the library at Jackson Park near the University of Chicago, where Obama taught constitutional law before he was elected to the White House, according to a person briefed on the selection. The library is expected to be a boon to nearby communities struggling with gang violence and unemployment.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak about the decision ahead of a formal announcement.
The park was selected over nearby Washington Park, which also was proposed by the university. The University of Chicago has said the library and presidential center are expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, bringing jobs and millions of dollars to the area.
Jackson Park was the site of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, while Washington Park is a national historic site. Both parks have hundreds of acres and were designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Michelle Obama also once worked at the University of Chicago, and the Obamas still maintain a house near campus.
The university’s sites were chosen as finalists last year over bids by Columbia University in New York City, the University of Hawaii and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The president famously worked as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side, where Michelle Obama grew up. She worked as an administrator at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
The Obamas announced last month that the library would be designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, a New York architectural firm that designed the David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. The Obama Foundation said 140 architecture firms applied to design the library.
The center is expected to be completed by 2021.
___Josh Lederman reported from Washington, D.C.