U. of C. flirts with a “Team Obama”

The University of Chicago is couring several groups as part of the Obama Pesidential Library Bid
The University of Chicago is couring several groups as part of the Obama Pesidential Library Bid

Staff Writer

The University of Chicago is dangling the possibility of partnership to several Chicago institutions, including the Museum of Science and Industry and the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, if the Obama Presidential Library comes to the South Side.

The U. of C. is having conversations with organizations, including the KLEO Community Family Life Center, 119 E. Garfield Blvd.; Apostolic Church of God, 6320 S. Dorchester Ave.; the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, with clubs across the city, Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.; XS Tennis and Education Foundation, 1301 E. 47th St., and Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, about the library.

Each organization said it could stand to benefit from, or would be an asset to, programming offered at a presidential library, but Jeremy Manier, news director at U. of C., declined to say these organizations were part of its plan for the library.

The university submitted its Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to the Barack Obama Foundation on Monday. Organizations lobbying to host the institution, which will house artifacts and documents from Obama’s time in office, will be notified later this summer if they are selected to submit a Request for Proposal (RFP).

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is Obama’s former White House Chief of Staff, has thrown his support behind the U. of C.’s effort to bring library to the South Side. Previously, Emanuel said he supported a unified bid to bring the library to Chicago. Chicago State University, University of Illinois at Chicago and U.S. Steelworks are also expected to bid.

Emanuel told the Chicago Sun-Times that he now supported bringing it to the South Side because it’s where the First Family made their home and where the president began his career and because the development could serve as an economic engine.

Emanuel declined to name a specific South Side location. He told Kenwood resident Marty Nesbitt, Obama’s former campaign treasurer and head of the Obama Foundation, that the city would use its muscle to create steering committees, improve public transit and South Side streetscapes and provide economic and civic backing.

Earlier, Emanuel said he wanted Chicago to submit one unified bid for the library and work out locations later.

The University of Chicago, with its financial backing, land ownership, presence on the Mid-South side and professional history with the Obama family, is considered a top contender.