Obama Presidential Center could be constructed in Kakaako

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There is a groundswell of support for a Presidential center in Hawaii.

Supporters are quick to point out this will not be a competition for anything planned in Chicago.

The center would be located in Kakaako Makai on seven acres of land.

“We hope we can do something great in partnership with the President that will be good for him, good for the islands and even more than that — good for the world,” University of Hawaii professor Robert Perkinson said.

In the past, there have been presidential libraries, but more recently that concept has expanded.

“We’re conceiving of this broadly as a Presidential center because over the past few presidents, the institutions that they’ve built after leaving office have many components. There’s the library and archives, a museum, a school of public affairs, like the Kennedy School and a foundation,” Perkinson said.

On Wednesday night, public and private partners gathered to set the tone for creation of the Presidential center.

“In many ways, it provided the wind behind our sails. We’ve been working on this project for so long and to involve the community and to get their support last night was outstanding,” UH professor Patricia Halagao said.

Halagao envisions the Presidential center in Kakaako as more than merely an archive of presidential documents.

“A presidential center again is more broadly conceived. The center I think is more dynamic, I think it’s more interactive. I think it’s more engaging, it’s more engaging with the public and that’s what I think we really want,” Halagao said.

Recent presidential libraries have been built at upwards of $500 million.

Halagao says it’s possible this might be a stop for visitors.

“I think it will definitely be a tourist attraction. People come to Hawaii for vacation and so this is another opportunity for them to lean about the history and the life of our president,” Halagao said.

In any event, a presidential center would not likely be built until four years after the president leaves the White House.

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