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Obamas 'Thrilled' Library Will Be Located In 'Iconic' Jackson Park

By Sam Cholke | July 29, 2016 2:33pm
 The Republic Statue in Jackson Park
The Republic Statue in Jackson Park
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DNAinfo/Devlin Brown

WOODLAWN — The president has made it official: The Obama Presidential Center is coming to Jackson Park.

The Obama Foundation issued a statement Friday confirming the news that leaked earlier this week.

A statement from President Barack Obama said: "Michelle and I are thrilled that the Obama Presidential Center will be developed in the heart of Chicago’s South Side, a community we call home and that means the world to us.

"With a center in Jackson Park, not only will we be able to effect local change, but we can attract the world to this historic neighborhood, whose rich cultural heritage dates back to the 1893 World’s Fair. We are proud that the center will help spur development in an urban area, and we can’t wait to forge new ways to give back to the people of Chicago who have given us so much."

Officials from the Obama Foundation, the city and the University of Chicago will discuss the announcement at a press conference at the Museum of Science and Industry Wednesday.

The Obamas picked Jackson Park over Washington Park, but the foundation's release said both parks were conceived by architect Frederick Law Olmsted as one park, joined by the Midway, and both would benefit from the presidential center.

"For the first time, a presidential center will be in the heart of an urban community," said Marty Nesbitt, Obama Foundation chairman.

"The president and first lady believe that locating the presidential center at Jackson Park will have the greatest long-term impact on the combined communities," the foundation said.  "With its aesthetics, iconic location, historical relevance from the World’s Fair, we believe Jackson Park will attract visitors on a national and global level that will bring significant long-term benefits to the South Side.”

Woodlawn's Apostolic Church of God, led by the Rev. Byron T. Brazier, welcomed the news.

"On behalf of the Woodlawn community, its stakeholders and residents, we are thrilled to welcome and participate with the Obama Presidential Center as it comes to the South Side and Jackson Park," said Brazier, whose church is located a few blocks west of Jackson Park.

"We are committed to working with the foundation and the mayor’s office to ensure economic growth and full participation of South Side community stakeholders and residents,” Brazier said.

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