Seven private properties next to the Garfield Green Line stop appear to be included in maps released by the university last week of the proposed site in Washington Park, which confused some property owners.
Pastor Anthony David O’Neil of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, 5416 S. Calumet Ave., said Monday no one from the university had reached out to the church in the last four years.
Still, he said he was in favor of the library coming to the neighborhood and thought the congregation would be open to moving if asked to for the library.
“It would bring so much life and opportunity to the community,” O’Neil said. “I just don’t want us to be taken out of the community.”
Jeremy Manier, a spokesman for the university, said the library could work with Holy Trinity to use the property in the Obama Foundation, which ultimately will pick the final site for the library, but the university was not including it in its proposal.
He said the plan only includes property owned by the university, the city and the Chicago Transit Authority, which owns a parking lot immediately south of the seven properties on Calumet and Garfield Boulevard.
"Privately held land is not included," Manier said. "If the Washington Park site is chosen and the Foundations wishes to use land outside the park, we would be available to work with the Foundation and the local community, including private land owners, to formulate a plan."
On Jan. 6, the university released maps showing a site for the library that extended from Prairie Avenue to Martin Luther King Drive and Garfield to 54th Street. Only seven properties in that area are privately owned.
O’Neil said the church had been approached many times in recent years to sell the building, most recently by Joseph Bowden, a real estate developer who sold off much his property in the neighborhood to the university in 2012.
Bowden and two other developers currently own the four row houses north of the church also included on the university’s maps for the Obama library. The owners could not be reached for comment.
Pamela Watkins, who owns one of the seven properties, a three-story graystone south of the church at 5422 S. Calumet Ave., could not be reached for comment Monday.
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