Anthony Beale

Chicago City Council backs Obama Presidential Center plans

The effort to build the Obama Presidential Center in a park on Chicago's South Side where Barack Obama's political career began cleared its biggest hurdle yet Wednesday when the City Council signed off on the proposal.

The vote was widely expected, but was still historic for both the city where the nation's first black president started and for the state where the only presidential library is that of the president who freed the slaves.

The city's plan commission and zoning board voted in favor of the proposal to build the center in Jackson Park in recent days.

The significance of the vote was not lost on the aldermen and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"We are...