The battle over the Barack Obama presidential library has begun.
Four bidders met the Thursday deadline to submit their proposal for the honor of hosting the library and research center. The president and first lady will make the choice among candidate locations — each of which carries significance for Obama.
“We were amazed by the quality of responses to our request-for-qualifications and we are grateful to every institution that expressed interest in carrying President Obama's legacy forward,” said Martin Nesbitt, chairman of the board of the Barack Obama Foundation, which oversees the library project.
“These four potential partners have come the farthest in meeting our criteria and have each demonstrated a strong vision for the future Obama Presidential Library,” he said. “We look forward to working with each institution to further refine their proposals over the coming months, and to presenting our recommendations to the president and first lady early next year.”
The four proposals include two from Chicago, where the Obamas lived; one from New York near Columbia University, where Obama received his undergraduate degree in political science; and one from Hawaii, where the president was born.
In addition to accolades and prestige, the winner gets a new tourist attraction as well as an economic boost from the construction.
The Hawaii proposal is for an eight-acre spot on a rocky shoreline between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, with a dramatic view of the Diamond Head volcanic crater.
A group supported by Hawaii's governor, the University of Hawaii and several other institutions, including Punahou School, which Obama attended from fifth grade through high school, submitted its ideas to the Barack Obama Foundation.
Columbia University has proposed a center in West Harlem, where it is building a satellite campus.
The University of Illinois at Chicago submitted its plan with its community partner North Lawndale. The University of Chicago, where Obama taught constitutional law, also submitted a bid to build a library on the city's South Side.