Obama library likely to go to Chicago, but Honolulu could still play role

Obama Library headed to Chicago?
Published: Feb. 27, 2015 at 3:29 AM HST|Updated: Feb. 27, 2015 at 10:19 AM HST
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Avis Lavelle
Avis Lavelle
Dan Meisenzahl
Dan Meisenzahl

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It looks more and more like the Obama Presidential Library is headed for Chicago. But Honolulu could play the role of the second city.

The official announcement is still weeks away but the foundation developing Barack Obama's future presidential library appears to be moving ahead with plans to build the library at the University of Chicago.

The foundation recently commissioned a poll in Chicago to determine whether residents near the University of Chicago support the library and museum. Seventy percent said they did.

"I don't think this is something that is going to come around again for a very long time as an opportunity for Chicago," said Chicago resident Avis Lavelle.

Hawaii is one of four locations in the running for the estimated $500 million project. Others include Columbia University in New York and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Hawaii team, spearheaded by the University of Hawaii, offered to build the library at an 8-acre site across from the Children's Discovery Center in Kakaako.

They're still hoping to win the bid but they also have a Plan B.

There's been talks of a smaller, second campus in Kakaako in partnership with one of the Chicago groups.

Last year, a team from Hawaii flew to Chicago for a site visit. Then, a University of Chicago group traveled here to meet with local leaders.

"We were always confident we would get a component or that the president would use us as a base of operation to be part of the presidential library," said UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl.

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