Exclusive: Obama, Michelle to announce Chicago winning library in video

SHARE Exclusive: Obama, Michelle to announce Chicago winning library in video

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle will officially announce, in a video, that Chicago’s South Side will be the home of the Obama library, museum and presidential center, the Sun-Times has learned.

As of Friday, the video was scheduled to be released on Tuesday, several hours before the Barack Obama Foundation makes the official announcement in Chicago.

The Chicago-based foundation on Tuesday will hold a news conference at the Gary Comer Youth Center, 7200 S. Ingleside – not far from the Obama’s Kenwood home and the South Side house where the first lady was raised – to discuss the University of Chicago winning the competition to land the Obama development.

The Obama complex will house the records from the Obama presidency, host an academic institute and produce programs associated with the Obama legacy, including Michelle Obama’s projects.

Another major goal — as stated in the foundation bid documents — is for the project to serve as an economic engine for the community where it is located.

The foundation, led by Obama friend Marty Nesbitt, is not expected on Tuesday to announce whether the facility will be constructed in Washington Park or Jackson Park. The neighborhoods adjacent to both parks – not far from the U. of Chicago main Hyde Park campus – are sorely in need of economic revitalization.

According to a foundation timeline, the next step will be to name an architect.

The Comer setting is noteworthy since Michelle Obama spoke there on May 20, 2012, at an event connected to Chicago hosting the NATO Summit, where Obama welcomed global leaders to the city, the site of the start of his political career.

The center is also the home of theSouth Shore Drill Team, which performed at Obama’s second inauguration parade in 2013.

Mrs. Obama’s 2012 speech, where she talked about growing up on the South Side to the spouses of the NATO leaders, is particularly apt in the context of the upcoming announcement about the Obama development landing on the South Side.

Explaining why she wanted the spouses to see Comer, Mrs. Obama said in that 2012 speech, “I brought them here because I am so proud of where I grew up, and I wanted to show everyone some of the wonderful things that are happening here on the South Side.”

She added, “I also remember back when this center was just an idea. And it is really amazing to see this phenomenal facility. I remember when it was just being built, and I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to be here, seeing this thriving, inspiring, beautiful place just minutes from where I grew up — a place where you all can come and learn and grow and pursue your dreams. I hope you know how blessed you are. And being here today, I see so much of myself in all of you young people. I really do.”

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