President Barack Obama has yet to pick a city for his library and museum, and Chicago bidders -- facing stiff competition from New York and Hawaii, not to mention each other -- are hoping he'll choose his adopted hometown and one of nine potential locations lined up for the much-coveted tourism magnet.
The Chicago Tribune reports that library bidders -- The University of Chicago, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago State University and two independent developers -- have settled on sites to present to The Barack Obama Foundation, which imposed a June 16 deadline for proposals.
According to the newspaper, The University of Chicago will propose three South side locations: the Garfield Green Line "L" stop; the West side of Jackson Park; and, most appealing, the South Shore Cultural Center on Lake Michigan, where the Obamas held their wedding reception.
Meanwhile, UIC has selected Taylor Street and Harrison Field as prospective spots on its downtown-accessible campus; Chicago State, located on the South Side, offers up two areas on the north and south ends of campus, where Obama started as a community organizer early in his Chicago career. Both schools are publicly addressing their site pitches, as is developer Dan McCaffery, who wants to host the library inside his $4 billion residential-and-retail complex to be constructed upon the U.S. Steel South Works' former lakefront vista.
"It extends our economic boundary, and it's beautiful," McCaffery told the Tribune.
Another indie contender without university support is the 48-acre Michael Reese Hospital site, located in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
The Obama library and museum has been a topic of controversy in Illinois these past few months amid moves by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to earmark $100 million in state money for its construction.
The ensuing public outcry has not halted the bidding wars.
Let the games begin.
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