It is official! President Obama Library will be at Jackson Park

 Where should be located President Obama Library? There was a discussion about it for last two years. I was even considering to ask President Obama during his visit in Warsaw about it: Washington or Jackson Park? The focus of his visit was different and time for conversation limited. It was only my unspoken attempt. The place is official right now.  

Obama Foundation sent official information on Friday, July 29, 2016 with an announcement of the exact location of President Obama Library.

 After long deliberation, they’ve selected a site for the Center on Chicago’s South Side – it is Jackson Park. It will be the place for the Obama Presidential Center: library, museum and foundation headquarters.

Why have the Presidential Foundation chosen Jackson Park? There are many reasons, starting with its location in the heart of the South Side community that Barack and Michelle Obama consider home. 
There’s so much more to it.  The statement from Marty Nesbit, Board Chair, Obama Foundation says:  ” We believe that Jackson Park’s natural beauty, iconic location, and historical relevance from the 1893 World’s Fair will attract visitors from near and far, presenting new opportunities and significant benefits for the South Side”. 

Discover all the things that convinced President Obama Foundation  to select Jackson Park as the home for the Obama Presidential Center.  

“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.

 A few weeks ago I participated in the “Anti-Hunger Walk” organized by the Greater Chicago Food Depository at Jackson Park with 16,000 participants. It was an incredible opportunity for me to support a noble cause and to tour Jackson Park on feet and driving through surrounding area by a car.

 I have discovered many unique characteristics around Park, its close proximity to Lake Michigan. The Museum of Science and Industry has been a great attraction for decades and it is in close proximity.
 Jackson Park was the setting for 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, organized in connection with the 400th Anniversary of Columbus arrival in the New World in 1492. I’ve learned about the Golden Lady statue, which is a smaller version of Daniel Chester French’s Statue of the Republic and which originally stood at the base of the Fair’s Court of Honor, and the Wooded Island and its famed Osaka Garden.
 There are many valuable lessons related to changing population of Chicago’s South Side. At the end of XIXth century there were many immigrants coming from Europe, including from Polish territories, who worked in the area’s steel mills and meat packing plants
The end of the Civil War brought a second population boom, as emancipated African Americans moved north to make better lives for their families. In the early 20th century, continuing industrialization in the North and poor conditions in the agrarian South spurred the Great Migration, bringing tens of thousands of additional residents to the area. 
The dynamic changes in the economy, with population have created many challenges in Chicago’s South Side in the XX-th Century and have made an impact in the XXI-st Century.
The Presidential Library and other community developments will bring new incredible opportunities to this are in coming years and decades.

The Obama Center will continue the ongoing story of the park and contribute to the rich history of the South Side as a whole. It is an exciting opportunity to observe these transformational developments, to see how different pieces are brought together, how the lessons from the past are re-learned and applied in unique way.

Officials from the President Obama Foundation, the City of Chicago and the University of Chicago are scheduled to talk more about the selection at the conference next Wednesday. They will be joining by community leaders and local elected officials.
 The Presidential Center will make positive impact on development the entire community. It is scheduled to be open in 2021.

 @ Andrew (Andrzej) Mikolajczyk