Barack Obama Presidential Library: And the Winner Is?

Washington Park vs. Jackson Park

By Ken Hare

Chicago Defender Staff Writer


Whoa, not so fast. But in early media reports coming from consultants connected with the committee headed up to determine the final site; Washington Park seems to be moving into the spotlight.

Recently, Paul Goldberger, former architecture critic for the New Yorker and an adviser to the Obama Foundation, told architecture site Common Edge that Washington Park was a better fit for the library and many of those around Obama recognized that.

Not surprising considering that the Chicago Baptist Institute  has just dropped its asking price from 15 million to 13.5 million on its landmark Chicago Orphan Asylum building. The beautiful, 118-year-old building sits directly across the street from where the presidential library would be located should the committee choose Washington Park.

The footprint of the library would stretch from 51st Street and King Drive, south to 55th and King Drive. Long-term Washington Park resident, Audrey Madison, has mixed views about the possible site “The area is long overdue for economic development but its most likely going to come at the expense of the Blacks who have been here the longest and won’t be able to afford the taxes once the property values shoot up.”

It also places it near the DuSable Museum, the first African American museum which is located not far from the University of Chicago Campus where President Obama once worked 

A local realtor who is handling the sale said “We’re trying to get rid of it now instead of waiting.” “There’s a lot of interest.”

“The Washington Park site is the more exciting possibility because it is the less conventionally presidential’ site,” Goldberger said. “Most of the people close to him feel the same way.” The final decision will come later in the year.


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