Count me as one who is pleased that the Obama Presidential Library will be located on the south side of Chicago. The area may well benefit significantly as a result of being able to host the library. After all, the library will attract visitors from other parts of Chicago and from other cities, states and countries. Those visitors will want or have to spend money on food and lodging while visiting the library, and the south side–which badly needs the economic investment–will receive that business. This will lead to the establishment of more businesses on the south side, which will generally make the area a more attractive place for visitors and potential residents. It will also lead to jobs, and the south side of Chicago could certainly use the infusion of employment.
I suppose that I should disclose my conflict of interest: I live in Hyde Park, and while it is certainly a nice neighborhood, it could use an infusion of restaurants, other entertainment venues, and new businesses. I would like to think that the placement of the Obama Presidential Library will lead to greater residential development on the south side which will benefit neighborhoods like Hyde Park. Of course, it is possible that the library will be a bust, and that it will do nothing to augment economic development on the south side, but I’d like to think that the planners have their heads screwed on straight, and that they are interested not just in building a presidential library, but in revitalizing a neighborhood and a community.
And yes, I know that I have a host of policy differences with President Obama and his administration. Those policy differences are not going away. But when something happens that might positively impact the area in which I live, I am not going to be upset about the development.