(CBS) — Mayor Emanuel is at the top of a long list of people who want the Barack Obama presidential library here in Chicago, now that an Illinois House committee has approved spending taxpayer money to bring it here.
A legislative proposal would set aside $100 million for the coveted project. That’s about a fifth of the total cost of the project.
“This is the home where the president began his career in public life and also where his family calls home,”says Emanuel, a former congressman who served as Obama’s first White House chief of staff.
Six locations, most on the South Side of Chicago, have been named as potential sites. Chicago State and the University of Illinois both want it badly.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) has co-sponsored the bill. He said it’s a good idea, even if the state continues to face financial challenges.
“Through the fiscal difficulties of the state over the last five to six to seven years we have continued to do capital construction,” Madigan tells Newsradio WBBM.
Hawaii and New York are also vying for the library.
Presidential libraries and museums are built typically with privately raised funds and then turned over to the federal government for operation. Mayor Emanuel says any taxpayer dollars spent for an Obama library in Chicago would stimulate tourism and economic development.