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Obama library would have economic impact on Hawaii

June 17, 2014 - 11:50pm

HONOLULU — A Barack Obama presidential library in Honolulu could be an economic boon for the islands.

Officials who submitted Hawaii’s bid for the facility on Monday said it would generate $556 million in economic activity and create 2,130 new jobs in the construction phase alone, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The University of Hawaii, state and city of Honolulu filed initial paperwork to the Barack Obama Foundation to host the Barack Obama Presidential Center.

The submission from the state where Obama was born and graduated from high school was one of 13 received by the foundation.

The Hawaii bid said the presidential library would be built on eight acres of Hawaii Community Development Authority land in Kakaako. The location offers sweeping views from Diamond Head to the Waianae Range, according to a website detailing the proposal.

It would include an interactive museum and visitor center, presidential archive and global youth leadership academy.

Once open, it would attract an estimated 330,000 visitors annually. The newspaper said it would be one of the city’s top five cultural attractions.

“Together, with our partners, we are proposing a vibrant institution that will explore the legacy of the 44th presidency, forge collaborative solutions to global problems and cultivate a new generation of leaders that will make lasting change,” University of Hawaii President David Lassner said in a statement.

Hawaii officials have not released projections on permanent jobs that would be created by the library or on its annual financial impact. They are working with Honolulu consultant John M. Knox & Associates to come up with the figures.

The Clinton Presidential Center has played a role in economic development worth $2.5 billion in Little Rock, Arkansas, according to its website.

The Barack Obama Foundation will review submissions and ask for formal proposals from some applicants. Other applications have come from sites in Illinois and New York. A final decision is expected early next year.

The submission from Hawaii was signed by Lassner, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

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