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Obama Foundation begins planning for Presidential Library

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Details about where Barack Obama's Presidential Library might be built are finally being discussed. Or at least the formal process of choosing a site is.

FOX 32's Robin Robinson sat down with the man in charge of the legacy that could change a city.

So the location of the Barack Obama Presidential Library will be known in about a year. One of the president's best friends announced the formation of the Barack H. Obama Foundation Friday, and laid out the plans for picking the library site.

Marty Nesbitt told FOX 32, there are no favorites.

"We hope that the library ends up being a point of pride for the entire country, where ever it is," Nesbitt said.

Where ever it is?

That's right, first friend Marty Nesbitt says the foundation will invite all comers in the first phase of the selection process.

"And then we will narrow it down to a smaller subset of respondents to go to a more detailed request for proposal," Nesbitt said. "I think it will end up in the place that puts together the best proposal."

Public speculation has centered on three places, Hawaii, where the president spent much his childhood, New York, where he attended Columbia University for grad school, and, of course, Chicago's South Side.

His Hyde Park homeland where the University of Chicago has plenty of land, and no doubt plenty of interest, or a bit further north on the Michael Reese hospital site which once figured prominently in the city's Olympic dreams until..

Could we be in for another epic disappointment? Despite the fact that most presidents build their libraries at home?

"That's certainly been the historical implication, but I think this president has a lot of connections to a lot of places around this country, there's a lot of places around this country that he has a meaningful relationship with," Nesbitt said.

Nesbitt may be warning that Chicago's proposal had better be fabulous.

Without saying it will be better than existing presidential libraries, the foundation wants it innovative and interactive. The First Lady is particularly interested in plans for community engagement.

"All of her interests in veterans and children and health and wellness will all be a part of what ultimately the library has to offer," Nesbitt said.

And the final decision will be made by the first couple themselves. A public legacy that's a personal choice, steered by someone they trust.

"I think there's just a comfort level with that, I think he feels comfortable. I'm honored that he asked me to do it and I'm very comfortable doing it, I don't feel any pressure," Nesbitt said.

Chicago's Mayor Emanuel said, "With President Obama's deep roots here in the city – his hometown and where he launched his public life – Chicago is undeniably a natural fit for the Obama Presidential Library and Museum. Though we're excited to welcome the president home, we are not resting on our laurels and will put forward a competitive proposal so that his choice is an easy one."

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