Two Chicago proposals to house the Obama presidential library face obstacles that could pave the way for New York’s Columbia University to land the institution, according to Politico, citing reports at the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.
Barack Obama Foundation officials reportedly have “major concerns” about proposals submitted by the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. They were among four submitted to the foundation earlier this month, including Columbia and the University of Hawaii.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are expected to evaluate the submissions while vacationing in Hawaii, where the President grew up, this week and announce a decision on the location in early 2015. Obama made his political imprint as a freshman senator from Chicago’s South Side and graduated from Columbia with a degree in political science.
“The foundation is evaluating all four respondents across a variety of criteria,” a foundation spokesperson said. “Each institution is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses relative to the others. The foundation is looking at each response as a complete package and will choose the partner which, on balance, can offer the best opportunity to create an outstanding presidential library and museum.”
The University of Chicago, long seen as the frontrunner to host the library, faces challenges because none of its suggested sites are solely owned by the university, the report says. But Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office said that it was working out plans to lease or buy park land and make it available to the foundation if the site is selected for the library, Crain’s Chicago Business reports.
The University of Illinois at Chicago has a strong proposal, according to local media, but the institution is in the midst of major leadership changes in 2015, which could jeopardize the project as it moves forward.