(CBS) – Indications are Chicago’s quest for the Barack Obama presidential library has succeeded.
It’s a major coup for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and, perhaps more importantly, for the South Side, CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports.
The final confirmation was implied in a phone call last Friday to Emanuel and state Democratic legislative leaders meeting in his office.
The Obama Presidential Library will rise either in Washington Park at King Drive and Garfield Boulevard or at the other site proposed by the University of Chicago, in Jackson Park, south of the Museum of Science and Industry, near 60th and Stony Island.
The announcement is now planned for the week after next, though it may not specify which site will be chosen.
President Obama, in a phone call to Mayor Emanuel last Friday — both House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton were with him — seemed to telegraph the decision. The president reportedly thanked them for state legislation passed last week that removed the last obstacles to locating the library on public park land.
The estimated price tag for the library and museum is a whopping $500 million . It is expected to create 1,900 permanent jobs in a community that has struggled. An estimated $220 million in economic activity would be generated annually.
“This is a real shot in the arm,” 3rd Ward Ald. Pat Dowell tells CBS 2.
While only $6 million has been raised so far by the Obama Foundation, the project’s backers have deep pockets. The University of Chicago has a $7 billion endowment, while the president is the first $1 billion presidential fundraiser.
Rumors about the decision and timing of the announcement have been floating around for weeks, but these are the first definitive details, confirmed by several independent sources, all close to the selection process.
Plans could change in the next 10 days, but as of now, the announcement will be made just days before Mayor Emanuel’s second-term inauguration. Foundation officials will make it here in Chicago, with the president not expected to take a more active role himself until after he leaves office.
Other cities in the running for the Obama library are Honolulu and New York City. Chicago was considered the front-runner because President Obama launched his political career here and was a community organizer on the South Side.