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Categories:  Campus

UIC submits bid for Obama Presidential Library

Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares and State Sen. Patricia Van Pelt

UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares present’s a copy of UIC’s proposal to Sen. Patricia Van Pelt at Monday’s press conference. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

UIC submitted its bid Monday to the Barack Obama Foundation to become the future home of the Obama Presidential Library.

UIC’s proposal includes three sites.

Two locations, Harrison Field at Harrison and Halsted streets and an area in the Illinois Medical District at Taylor Street and Ashland Avenue, had previously been announced.

A third site in North Lawndale was announced at a news conference Monday.

UIC partnered with the North Lawndale Presidential Library Committee to propose the 23-acre site between West 5th Avenue to the north, South Kildare Avenue to the east, West Roosevelt Road to the south, and South Kostner Avenue to the west. The land is just south of the Eisenhower Expressway and the CTA Blue Line.

“The UIC-North Lawndale partnership brings together a major public research university and a community organized for change to further advance the ideals and legacy of President Barack Obama,” said Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares.

UIC and the North Lawndale community share similar values and vision, said Marcus Betts, North Lawndale Presidential Library Committee spokesman. “This response really isn’t about an ideal site, city or side of town, but the ideals set forth by the 44th president of the United States of America.”

Teya Boyd, an eighth-grader at LEARN Charter School adjacent to the site, spoke at Monday’s news conference. “It would be a great honor and asset to the North Lawndale community to be the recipients of a great historical establishment,” she said.

Michael Pagano

Michael Pagano, dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, at the press conference. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

Knowing that the president is an avid sports fan, Betts used sport lingo to deliver his message: “Mr. President and First Lady, North Lawndale has their game face on and has come ready to play.”

The Obama Presidential Library will be part of the presidential library system, which includes 13 libraries in the National Archives and Records Administration.

Funded by the Obama Foundation, the newest library will preserve and make available to the public the papers, records and other historical materials that document the lives of President Obama, his family, associates and administration.

The library will be a resource for researchers, students and other visitors from around the world.

The foundation said it had received 13 applications to host the library by Monday’s deadline for initial proposals. Local groups who had previously announced plans to submit proposals included the University of Chicago, Chicago State University and Chicago developer Dan McCaffery. Columbia University in New York City and the University of Hawaii stated their intent to submit proposals.

The UIC proposal is available online.