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Obama Visit Enlivens His South Side Neighborhood

A security checkpoint near President Obama's house in Kenwood. (CBS)

A security checkpoint near President Obama’s house in Kenwood. (CBS)

Mike Parker Mike Parker
Mike Parker has been a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Hyde Park & Kenwood is indeed historic.

It was home to Chicago’s first black mayor and it’s home to the first black president.

But Mr. Obama’s presence brings street closures, strict enforcement of parking bans in the neighborhood. And it brings tourists with their cameras and iPhones.

Friday, they watched the U.S. Secret Service security checkpoint, keeping everybody but residents off the Obama block.

Residents seem to take all of the restrictions in stride.

“Well, you kind of learn when you live in the area and the president’s by here you get used to it,” Hyde Park resident Jeff Jones tells CBS 2’s Mike Parker. “You expect it as well.”

In the nearby business district, the folks at the legendary Valois cafeteria wonder if while President Obama is in Chicago he might return. Then again, maybe not, if the president’s remarks at a downtown fundraiser are true.

“I’m going to go into my kitchen, I might cook something for myself,” Obama said. “Putter around in the backyard a little bit.”

The president has been a familiar presence in the neighborhood for a long time.

“I met president Obama in Walgreens one time before he became president,” Patricia Bussie-Sams recalls.