The next phase of planning for President Barack Obama's future presidential library is expected to start soon. With his close ties to both Hawaii and Chicago, organizers are exploring the possibility of a partnership.
"We're working very hard in collaboration, we hope, with the University of Chicago to see that we'll have a part in the presidential library system which we think will evolve," said Governor Neil Abercrombie.
A team from Hawaii flew to the Windy City for a site visit. Then a University of Chicago delegation traveled here to meet with local leaders.
"They were very, very impressed with what Hawaii has to offer, and of course the site itself down in Kakaako, out at the point there in Kakaako, is spectacular," said Abercrombie.
Hawaii News Now has learned that the foundation in charge of the selection process encouraged Hawaii to bid for everything, including the archives, museum and education center. The state's proposal will likely also have alternate plans for a two-campus center, with one site in Kakaako and the other in Chicago.
"This is the 21st century. A building, as such, is not going to be what the presidential legacy will be all about. There will be conferences, there will be outreach. There will be the internet, there will be distance learning," explained Abercrombie.
Securing a presidential facility offers many benefits, including an economic boost from national and international visitors.
"We've always had the idea that we've been working with somebody. We've never been in competition with anyone. What we want to do is be part of whatever the president decides is going to be his legacy," said Abercrombie.
The foundation is expected to find out soon which groups are interested in hosting the library. Certain ones will be invited to submit formal proposals. The final decision from President Obama and the First Lady is expected by early next year.