Obama picks Jackson Park for library site
Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016 - Posted by Rich Miller
* Sneed with the scoop…
A top Sneed source says the site of President Barack Obama’s Presidential Library will be Jackson Park, rather than Washington Park, which was considered the favored site months ago.
Among the reasons for the selection of Jackson Park?
The site’s great beauty, including its closeness to the water. Also, putting the library there will help build up the museum campus nearby.
It also has a pretty good golf course. I ran into the avid golfer Obama on that course years ago, back when I was still trying to play that crazy game and he was running for US Senate.
Located near the Museum of Science and Industry, the lakefront and the eastern edge of the University of Chicago campus, the site allows for the creation of a museum campus in the heart of the park, accented by an existing lagoon, lush woods and greenery. The winding 543-acre park is an oasis on the South Side. The center would be a short hop to either Lake Shore Drive or to two Metra train stations, strong pulls for visitors.
Jackson Park’s western edge along Stony Island Avenue connects with Woodlawn, an impoverished African-American neighborhood but one that is beginning to gentrify. And the Hyde Park neighborhood, just north of Woodlawn and surrounding the university, already is booming. […]
The hurdles would have been higher in the neighborhood near Washington Park, where one-third of the land is vacant. Decades ago the area was central to Chicago’s Black Belt, a robust cluster of neighborhoods that drew African-Americans from the South during the Great Migration. During the past half-century the population has plummeted, and nearly half the remaining residents live in poverty in an area plagued by crime.
Washington Park had been the centerpiece of the city’s 2016 Olympic bid — the site for a massive temporary stadium and swimming venue — and many residents believed that endeavor would help turn around their impoverished neighborhood just west of the park. The bid failed in 2009, and now residents of this struggling area must live with a second major disappointment.