PRLog - Aug. 4, 2014 - CHICAGO -- The President Barack Obama Library and Museum Campus Foundation, proponents of a plan to build the presidential library on the shuttered city-owned Michael Reese Hospital site in historic Bronzeville, appointed its directors on July 8.
The directors are: Bob Howard, former CEO and president of the Chicago Boys and Girls Club; Jacky Grimshaw, vice president, Center for Neighborhood Technology; Kelsey Taylor, president, Engage Civil Inc., a civil engineering firm; Terry Young, director, Urban Partnership Bank; Robin Malpass, principal, Robin Malpass & Associates, a destination marketing communications firm emphasizing sustainability;
Formed as a nonprofit organization in March, the foundation aims to transform the city-owned site that carries $91 million in debt from a no–man's–land of vacant parcels, truck staging and chemically contaminated land into an economic engine with commercial development that aligns with the city’s emerging profile as a hub for technology and innovation, and frames the site’s centerpiece – the presidential library on Chicago’s magnificent lakefront.
Directors will discuss an expanded concept of the proposal at the Bronzeville International Civic Innovation Summit, http://www.bronzevilleinternational.com, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, in McCormick Place, West Building 192, 2300 South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Chicago. The event is open to the public. The “ObamaCampus.com”
The hospital site marks the vision of former Mayor Richard M. Daley who purchased the property with the intent to build an international village for what might have housed thousands of Olympic athletes, had the U.S. bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics been successful. Mayor Rahm Emanuel later conducted a series of community-based planning sessions and presented a report with three viable redevelopment concepts. The proposal to locate the presidential library in Bronzeville began to take shape following strong community preferences around the numerous linkage opportunities that were highlighted in the report for this one of a kind location.
The site, bounded by Lake Shore Drive, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, 26th Street and 31st Street, would become as described in the proposal a panoramic bridge from the lakefront to the Near South neighborhood that accommodates various modes of public access, including the I-55 Stevenson Expressway and Lake Shore Drive, the new 31st Street Harbor and Metra and Chicago Transit Authority bus and train lines. It would be strategically positioned near the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Chicago State University - all contenders in the presidential library bid – and in the same neighborhood as the Illinois Institute of Technology, which houses a major technology incubator in the Midwest.
The Obama Campus proposal, http://www.obamacampus.com, dovetails with Mayor Emanuel’s goal of expanding Chicago’s profile as an international tourist destination and contributing to an arc of lakefront attractions spanning from the Museum of Science and Industry north to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The Bronzeville campus would be a nexus facilitating academic research and aligning with priorities of the Obama administration such as the “America’s Great Outdoors” initiative.
In addition, the proposed development would fit into the continuum of made-in-Chicago health care history that runs from Michael Reese, whose financing of the hospital enabled it to provide charity care to all, to President Obama whose landmark health-reform legislation has provided health care to millions of previously uninsured Americans.
The Bronzeville proposal respects the area’s past as it pushes forward into a new age of innovation, honoring the scores of African-Americans who settled in the neighborhood at the turn of the century and excelled in business and the arts.
“The foundation is following the long held community vision to develop Bronzeville as an international African-American heritage tourism destination, showcasing the story of the Great Migration,” said Paula Robinson, an ex-officio board director and public relations veteran who facilitated the community vision for the site proposal. “The Bronzeville proposal reflects the bold thinking of those who contributed not only to the city, but also to the world. We are aiming for no less in this era of tech innovation and the President Obama Library can be the catalyst.”
The Barack Obama Foundation, http://www.obamapresidentialfoundation.org, is overseeing the selection process and guidelines require applicants to present concepts that reflect the values of President Obama, including expanding economic opportunity, strengthening ties with the surrounding community and inspiring an ethic of American citizenship. Finalists will be invited to submit detailed proposals in September and a decision will be made by 2015.
About the President Obama Library and Museum Campus Foundation: The President Obama Library and Museum Campus Foundation is advancing a plan to locate President Barack Obama’s Library in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood. The foundation envisions a presidential campus that respects the neighborhood’