To the Editor:
Protect Our Parks and others have criticized the Obama Presidential Center for planning to take public land in a Chicago park. (Actually, the City and the public would own the buildings and the OPC will lease the land.)
Herbert Caplan, president of Protect Our Parks, has argued that putting the OPC in a public park would set a precedent and that parks could then be open to commercial development. But a presidential center is very different from commercial development, and I don’t think it would set such a precedent.
Let’s look at the record:
• The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is on land donated by his home town, Independence, MO.
• The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is on the grounds of the University of Texas at Austin.
• The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library is on the north campus of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
• The George H. W. Bush Presidential Library is on the west campus of Texas A&M University.
The citizens of other places are proud of their presidents. If other presidential libraries and museums can be placed on public land, can’t Chicago provide land for the presidential center of our first Chicago president?