|The Lakeside Center at McCormick Place is Underutilized - Seems like a good fit for the Obama Library|
image from durabilityanddesign.com
Just before Christmas there was a flurry of articles talking about the quest to land the prestigious Obama Library and Museum. The news came about due to some Bronzeville residents discussing their desire to have the Library and Museum at the old Michael Reese hospital site:
The site where Michael Reese Hospital once stood isn't much to look at, just a 37-acre swath of overgrown land in Bronzeville, behind a shoddy chain-link fence.
Developers are itching to build a casino or perhaps a sports entertainment complex on the city-owned property located in the shadows of downtown near the south lakefront. But residents of this historic African-American community have something grander in mind.
They envision a Barack Obama presidential library.
"This area tells the story of Chess Records, gospel music, blues and jazz, electrified by Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters," said Harold Lucas, president of the Black Metropolis Convention & Tourism Council in Bronzeville. "When people come to Chicago, that's what they want to see. They want to see the birthplace of Mr. Obama's political career."
Though Obama has not commented publicly about his plans for a library, every president since Herbert Hoover has established an archive in his home state to house papers from his White House tenure. That means the race could come down to Chicago — the city Obama most recently called home — and Honolulu — the city where he was born.
If Chicago is selected, the next hurdle would be to determine where the facility would be built. An Obama library likely would not open before the end of the decade, but already it is a hot commodity because of the prestige and economic vitality it would bring to the community.This isn't the first we've heard about the library coming to Bronzeville. Back in October of 2012, there was some whispers of this spot potentially being considered for the library among various other things.
Bronzeville would have to join other potential bidders, including the University of Chicago, the University of Hawaii and developers of the old U.S. Steel South Works site on the Southeast Side, all with decidedly more political clout, financial resources and name recognition.
In our opinion it seems like Hyde Park probably has the best chance of landing the Library given Obama's ties to the university and its proximity to his house. Hawaii just doesn't make practical sense in our opinion (it ain't easy to get to).
Just for fun, we've got another high-profile suggestion. What about the McCormick Place Lakeside Center (seen on the far left in the picture above)? It has historical significance since it's where Obama celebrated his 2nd term victory and from what we've heard it's not being fully utilized.
discussions about turning it into a data center which seems ludicrous given it's prime location on the lake. And even further back in 2011 the Chicago Architecture Club launched a competition to brainstorm ideas about what to do with this underutilized facility.
Better yet, it would further enhance Chicago's "Museum Campus".
Obviously we have no idea if this is a possibility, but seems like a good spot to us!