By Jay Levine

(CBS) – There are four competing bids—two of them from Chicago—now formally submitted for the Barack Obama Presidential Center.

Our Chief Correspondent Jay Levine says Chicago’s entries could not be more different.

They’re calling it a cross-town competition. South Side vs. West Side. U of C versus UIC, each with its own vision of what the Obama library and museum should be and how they’re going about getting it.

The University of Illinois-Chicago plan envisions transforming an empty lot in North Lawndale into the actual museum, with a campus that would stretch for miles all the way to the lakefront, even capping part of the Eisenhower Expressway for extra open space and area to develop. The UIC North Lawndale Westside coalition laid out its entire proposal—in sharp contrast to the University of Chicago-backed South Side group.

That coalition unveiled a music video. The U of C’s Susan Sher, First Lady Michelle Obama’s former chief-of-staff, says she doesn’t know if the president has seen the video.

Details of the U of C’s more traditional, more centralized plan weren’t made public, other than agricultural plans for a green roof and urban garden, and university partners coming up with academic activities to be based there.

Sher argues the South Side is where the Obamas lived and where they still have a home.

Mary Case of UIC says that will make it a “challenge” for her competing side.

Both Chicago bids would greatly benefit the neighborhoods where they’d be built. You can’t count out the other bids from New York’s Columbia University where the President went to college and Hawaii, where he was born and raised.

Sources close to the process say selecting either of those—given the president and first lady’s Chicago connections—would be unlikely.

 

 

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