Hawaiʻi Proposes an Action-Oriented Obama Presidential Center
By Wendy Osher
The University of Hawaiʻi today submitted a final written proposal to host the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Honolulu.
The news comes after UH was identified as a “short-list” contender in September. The University of Hawaiʻi was among four locations identified by the Barack Obama Foundation as potential partner institutions.
A bid team that prepared the proposal sponsored an independent research study that showed the Presidential Center in Honolulu would create 1,000 to 2,000 jobs in the construction period alone; generate $25 to 40 million in additional tax revenues; and generate $2 billion in new economic activity after its first 10 years of operation.
Other finalists being considered as potential hosts include: Columbia University, University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The foundation plans to present a recommendation to the President in the early part of 2015, with the President and First Lady making a decision in early to mid 2015.
An eight-acre parcel was set aside in Kakaʻako Makai as the proposed site of the facility on Oʻahu.
The Hawaiʻi proposal included plans for telling the president’s story, and creating an interactive museum and visitor center on the Obama presidency and its connections to Hawaiʻi. Over the past few months, foundation officials worked with each institution to further refine their proposals.
“President Obama is part of our Island family,” said Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige in a joint press release issued today. “We humbly suggest that Hawaiʻi is the best place to build his Presidential Center. With our rich cultural heritage, mature visitor industry, and Asia-Pacific ties, we believe we can help President Obama create an institution that will carry forward his important work on a global stage.”
Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui also commented saying, “Hawai‘i has really come together to develop an exciting proposal. We look forward to partnering with the Foundation to develop this dynamic institution as well as to welcoming the President and his family home to the Islands.”
The center would be action-oriented and education based, according to backers of the project. Four principal components outlined for the library include: a K-12 Global Youth Leadership Academy; an action-oriented Convening Institute; a UH Center for Community Organizing; and an interactive, issues-based Visitor Center.
UH President David Lassner said the center would not only commemorate Barack Obama’s legacy, “but also advances innovation, research and education.”