Tags: Barack Obama | Presidential History | David Axelrod | barack obama | presidential library | Chicago

Axelrod: 'Inconceivable' Obama Library Won't Be In Chicago

Image: Axelrod: 'Inconceivable' Obama Library Won't Be In Chicago
American political consultant and director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago David Axelrod. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 09 Feb 2015 09:36 AM

The future site of Barack Obama's presidential library may be a matter of ongoing debate, but a former campaign strategist believes it is "inconceivable" to most Chicagoans that it would be located anywhere besides the Windy City.

"The president spent so much of his life trying to revive the South Side of Chicago; he represented this area. It would be so meaningful to this community to have that library and that center here, and I think he knows what it would mean," David Axelrod, Obama's former campaign strategist and adviser, told USA Today.

Axelrod added that "from the standpoint of Chicagoans, it's inconceivable" that the presidential library would be built in either Hawaii or New York City.

Last December, New York City's Columbia University and the University of Hawaii joined the University of Chicago in submitting proposals to be the site of the future Barack Obama Presidential Center.

The University of Illinois at Chicago also has submitted a bid.

After conducting a review of the proposals, the board of the Barack Obama Foundation will present recommendations to the president and Michelle Obama with a decision expected sometime in the first quarter of 2015, according to a foundation press release.

A recent telephone survey of residents of the neighborhoods near Washington and Jackson Park, two South Side locations that could be chosen as sites for the library, found that 79 percent are in favor of the project.

However, the effort to land the project did draw protests from some residents during a January public forum on proposals to use public park space to build the future museum and library.

"I don't see why we need to disturb the beauty of the parks that we have," said Patricia Fox, a member of the Washington Park Conservancy told the Chicago Tribune.

Additional questions were raised last week about whether Chicago was still being considered by the Foundation after a "source" told Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed that it is "Michelle's choice where the library and museum will ultimately be located, and she has let her close friends know she wants it to be located in New York."

That rumor resulted in a flurry of calls from Marty Nesbitt, chairman of the Barack Obama Foundation, to Chicago officials assuring them that a decision had not been made and that Chicago was still in the running, reported the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet.

While Obama taught law at the University of Chicago and his family has ties to the school, questions have been raised about the fact it does not own any of the South Side sites included in its December proposal.

This Wednesday, the Chicago Park District board will hold a vote on a proposal to transfer portions of two Chicago parks to the City of Chicago in order to save the University of Chicago's bid for the library, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The foundation has set a goal of raising $225,000 per day to meet the $380 million estimated cost for construction of the library, reports Bloomberg News.

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The future site of Barack Obama's presidential library may be a matter of ongoing debate, but a former campaign strategist believes it is "inconceivable" to most Chicagoans that it would be located anywhere besides the Windy City.
David Axelrod, barack obama, presidential library, Chicago
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2015-36-09
Monday, 09 Feb 2015 09:36 AM
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