WOODLAWN — Jackson Park may be picking up steam in the race to select a site for the Barack Obama Presidential Library.
The University of Chicago, one of four institutions still in the running to get the library, reached out to an official with the Jackson Park Advisory Council to talk about the library.
Louise McCurry, president of the advisory council, said on Monday at the monthly park meeting that Sonya Malunda from the university’s office of civic engagement approached her to come to a regular meeting in December or January to talk about the library.
The meeting would be after the Dec. 11 deadline for the university to submit its proposed sites to the Obama Foundation, which is in charge of suggesting a site to the president, who will get the final say.
Despite the late date of the meeting, the move by the university would be the first official acknowledgment that it is considering Jackson Park for the library.
A spokesman for the university again declined to confirm whether Jackson Park was being listed as a potential site in its bid for the library.
"As part of the collaborative effort to bring the Obama Presidential Library to the South Side, representatives from the University of Chicago have been meeting with dozens of individuals and groups from across the city, including many on the South Side," said Jeremy Manier, a spokesman for the university.
McCurry said the advisory council would not necessarily be opposed to the library, but it is unlikely that there would be unanimous consent among park volunteers, who can be fiercely protective of the site of the World’s Columbian Exposition.
A list of potential sites was leaked in May and included an empty lot at Garfield Boulevard and Martin Luther King Drive, the South Shore Cultural Center, and an area of Jackson Park across from Hyde Park Academy High School at Cornell Avenue and Hayes Drive.
McCurry said her discussions since the leak with university officials and other park advocates connected to the university suggest the university would like to use a Chicago Park District garage at 6300 S. Stony Island Ave. north to the football field and track at 6000 S. Stony Island Ave.
The university has confirmed that it will include three possible locations when it submits its proposal to the Obama Foundation on Dec. 11, but has not specified any of the three locations.
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