The CBS Chicago affiliate first reported word Thursday evening that the president has already decided. White House officials declined to comment on the matter, and neither university officials nor ones at the Barack Obama Foundation could be immediately reached for comment Thursday night.
The University of Chicago has identified two possible sites near its campus for the future building, both of which would be in the neighborhood where the Obamas lived before entering the White House. One is in Washington Park, while the other is in Jackson Park, on the South Side lakefront.
Local preservationists have raised concerns about building the library on public park land, especially since the parks were designed in the late 1800s by the renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
But last week both the Illinois House and Senate passed a measure that specifically allows the city to do that. A source close to one of the state legislative leaders said Thursday night that "it was our hope that the legislative action could settle any doubts about the viability of the Chicago bid." The Illinois governor, Bruce Rauner (R), has not yet signed the legislation.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as Obama's first White House chief of staff, has been a strong proponent of having the library in the president's adopted home town. He released a statement after the state legislature's vote last week saying that the bill would "provide further reassurance for the Barack Obama Foundation to choose the president's home town as the site" for the library.