Local bids in for Obama Library home

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All bids for the future home of the Obama Presidential Library are in. (WLS)

Bids for the future home of the Obama Presidential Library were due Monday.

For now, there is no public money available to help attract the library to Chicago, as five competitors make independent bids to bring the prize to the president's hometown.

"We don't think of ourselves as the front runner," said University of Chicago's Susan Sher.

Sher is an executive vice president at the University of Chicago. She downplayed her former job as a White House aide as she leads the university's effort to host the Obama Library.

"I think the Obamas will make the decision based on where they want to be and what's the best proposal that they get," Sher said.

The university has offered to host the Obama archives at an undetermined location off the Hyde Park campus. Chicago State University on 95th Street has proposed a complex on campus, and the University of Illinois-Chicago is offering either of two on-campus sites or a third in the North Lawndale neighborhood near Roosevelt and Kostner.

"North Lawndale has entered this competition, and we intend on playing to win," said community activist Marcus Betts.

Non-university sponsored sites include the abandoned Michael Reese Hospital in Bronzeville and the former U.S. Steel site now called the Lakeside Development.

"We need to have it in an area where it's going to have a stronger economic impact; somewhere on the West or South Sides of Chicago," said State Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago).

"You're going to bring jobs, you're going to bring other businesses that will follow anytime you're going to talk about bringing development," said State Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago).

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan failed in his effort to set aside $100 million for a library in Illinois as opposed to New York City or Hawaii, which also have submitted bids. Governor Pat Quinn, despite the fact two state universities are in the running, says he is neutral in the local competition.

"I want to make sure it's in Illinois. I don't think it should be anywhere else but our state," Quinn said.

Neither the president nor first lady has made any comments on the library's eventual location.

A selection committee headed by presidential friend Marty Nesbit will review the bids and make recommendations but the Obamas will make the final decision next year.

Related Topics:
librariespresident barack obamaChicago - Hyde ParkChicago - RoselandChicago - BronzevilleChicago - Near West Side
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