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Obama Foundation Announces Jackson Park as Site of the Obama Presidential Center

July 29, 2016 at 1:54 PM CDT

Chicago, IL – Today, the Obama Foundation announced that Jackson Park will be the site of the Obama Presidential Center. The Center will be located in the heart of the South Side, which has been the home to the First Family for many years.Officials from the Obama Foundation, the City of Chicago, the University of Chicago, along with community leaders and local elected officials will discuss the announcement at a press conference at the Museum of Science and Industry on Wednesday, August 3, 2016. Watch the full event here (Opens in a new tab).

Both Jackson Park and Washington Park are exceptional sites in the same historic South Side community that includes vibrant institutions, like the DuSable Museum, the University of Chicago and Museum of Science and Industry, strong faith communities, successful business leaders, and community-based organizations.   Not only are the two parks just a few miles apart, but they were originally conceived of by Frederick Law Olmsted as one park—South Park—joined by the Midway.  They are in a part of the city that will benefit from the development of the Center.

“For the first time, a presidential center will be in the heart of an urban community. The President and First Lady are proud that the Obama Foundation is developing the Obama Presidential Center in the South Side, a community that they call home,” said Marty Nesbitt, chair of the Obama Foundation. “The President and First Lady believe that locating the Presidential Center at Jackson Park will have the greatest long term impact on the combined communities.  With its aesthetics, iconic location, historical relevance from the World’s Fair, we believe Jackson Park will attract visitors on a national and global level that will bring significant long term benefits to the South Side.”

“On behalf of the Woodlawn Community, its stakeholders and residents, we are thrilled to welcome and participate with the Obama Presidential Center to the South Side and Jackson Park. We are committed to working with the Foundation and the Mayor’s Office to ensure economic growth and full participation of South Side community stakeholders and residents,” said Dr. Byron T. Brazier, Pastor of the Apostolic Church of God.

“In just a few short years, we look forward to welcoming the President, First Lady and the First Family back to the community they call home, the South Side, to unveil the Presidential Center. Until then, we look forward to remaining engaged with our community, city, and non-profit partners throughout the programming and development stages and ensuring the development spurred by the Obama Presidential Center is enjoyed across the whole South Side,” said Pastor Torrey L. Barrett, Founder and Executive Director of K.L.E.O. Community Family Life Center.

“The Obama Presidential Center will bring tremendous cultural, economic, and educational benefits not just to Jackson Park, but to Washington Park, Woodlawn and the entire City of Chicago for generations to come," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "I want to again thank President Obama and the First Lady for choosing Chicago, and we look forward to working with residents, neighborhood leaders, elected officials, community groups and the Foundation to maximize the economic development that this project will bring to the South Side."

"Bringing the Obama Presidential Center to the South Side will provide an array of new opportunities for our young people, and it will be a catalyst for economic development, cultural enrichment and community programming. The Obama Foundation’s selection of a site is another exciting step for a project that stands to benefit all of our neighboring communities and the Chicago region,” said Robert J. Zimmer, President of the University of Chicago.

The Obama Foundation put out an open call for proposals for where to locate the Obama Presidential Center and the Foundation reviewed and chose from the proposals that were submitted. The Foundation reviewed those proposals, the President and First Lady selected their top choice, and the Board approved it.

In June, the Obama Foundation announced that Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners and Interactive Design Architects will lead the design phase of the Obama Presidential Center. Programming for the Obama Presidential Center will begin in 2017.