WOODLAWN — Barack Obama’s presidential library could bring new life to the neighborhood of Woodlawn, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.

Woodlawn’s Jackson Park is one of two potential locations for the Barack Obama Presidential Library. According to U. of C., a presidential library in Woodlawn would rake in $220 million a year and create 1,900 permanent new jobs.

The Chicago Tribune revealed Woodlawn’s potential for redevelopment, with more than 300 tracts of undeveloped land and parking lots. Most of the land is owned by the city, a neighborhood nonprofit and a megachurch.

The library could revitalize Woodlawn’s former commercial center on 63rd Street and Stony Island. Community efforts to redevelop the economic hub stalled because of the 2007 recession. Building the presidential library on the South Side could be a watershed moment that brings Obama’s message of change full circle.

“Presidential libraries create a major opportunity, but they don’t by themselves drive huge change. The library gives us a chance to be part of a catalytic convergence of activity,” said Robert Weissbourd, a former ShoreBank executive. “All of us need to feel like we have a stake in neighborhoods like Woodlawn.”

[Chicago Tribune]

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