Public meetings on Obama library coming up next week

Staff Writer

Next week Hyde Park will have three public meetings to solicit input on using public parkland for the Obama Presidential Library.

The first, but unofficial, meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday at the Jackson Park Fieldhouse, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave. The Jackson Park Advisory Council will meet with representatives from the University of Chicago about its bid.

The university pitched using 21 acres of parkland on the west side of Jackson Park from 59th Street to 64th Street as a location for the library.

A hearing sponsored by the City of Chicago will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, in Hyde Park High School, 6220 S. Stony Island Ave. That hearing will focus on the Jackson Park bid.

A final hearing regarding the Washington Park bid will be held at noon Wednesday, at the Washington Park Fieldhouse, 5531 S, Martin Luther King Dr.

University officials pitched a library in Washington Park that would occupy 22 acres on the west side of the park, from 51st to 55th streets.

After the U. of C.’s bid to host the library was put in jeopardy last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel stepped in to help secure it.

Emanuel in the past has said publicly that he would support a South Side presidential library, effectively endorsing the U. of C.’s bid.

The university unveiled details of its proposals plans after an unnamed source close to the foundation told the Sun-Times that it did not own any of the land it pitched to use.

Only about 10 acres on either site would be occupied by buildings and the project would leave more green space than it takes up, university spokesman Jeremy Manier said.

The 11 acres the university owns in Washington Park were also included in the bid.

In its original bid the university proposed the South Shore Cultural Center, but that option has been taken off the table.