May 12, 2015 / 3:08 PM / 4 years ago

Obama presidential library will be built in Chicago

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Barack Obama’s presidential library and museum will be built in his hometown of Chicago, the Obama Foundation announced on Tuesday.

Chicago beat out proposals by New York City and Hawaii to be the home the library.

The foundation, a nonprofit organization that conducted the site-selection process, will oversee the development and building of the library. It has not decided on the facility’s exact location but it is expected to be in one of two parks near the University of Chicago’s main campus.

The library and museum are expected to be open to visitors by 2020 or 2021.

Obama grew up in Hawaii and went to college in New York but owns a home and spent most of his pre-White House political career in Chicago, starting as a community activist before becoming an Illinois state senator and U.S. senator.

“All of the strands of my life came together and I really became a man when I moved to Chicago,” Obama said in the foundation’s video announcement of the decision.

Obama met his wife, Michelle Obama, in Chicago and his two daughters were born there.

“I’m thrilled to be able to put this resource in the heart of the neighborhood that means the world to me,” Michelle Obama said in the video. “I consider myself a South Sider.”

People in Chicago’s South Side, which includes many poor and crime-ridden neighborhoods, hope jobs and investment come with the library. Some small businesses are concerned they may be forced out of the area if rental prices go up.

The exact location of the library will be determined in the next six to nine months, foundation chair Martin Nesbitt said at a news conference in Chicago.

U.S. President Barack Obama plays host to a Cinco de Mayo reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington May 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Nesbitt said it was clear from the beginning of the selection process that a Chicago location had community support, and that it grew over time.

“It will be one of the most important cultural jewels for the city of Chicago,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who had served as Obama’s chief of staff.

Emanuel said the library will bring visitors from around the country and around the globe to see “the most American of American cities.”

Additional reporting by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Will Dunham

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