Editor’s note: The following letter was e-mailed to Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th).
Dear Alderman Hairston,
Much of the South Side of Chicago looks like Hamburg, or whatever major German city you prefer, circa 1946, after the worst of the rubble was cleared.
These areas are in dire need of development and reconstruction, yet the University of Chicago proposes to use historic park land in Jackson or Washington parks for the Barack Obama Presidential Library.
The logical places on the South Side for this Library would have been either the vacant Michael Reese Hospital or U.S. Steel South Works sites.
Instead, the U. of C. is trying to do things on the cheap, arrogantly assuming that South Side residents are so desperate for the Library that we will accept any proposed site, even on land to which they do not have title, even one that destroys green space in parks that are among the jewels of urban landscaping.
In contrast, Columbia University has assembled a fully owned and cleared 30 acre site in Manhattan, the world’s economic, cultural, and artistic capital. The Obamas would be foolish not to accept Columbia’s offer and I urge them to build the library in New York City.