The City of Atlanta today announced that Mayor Kasim Reed joined Dr. Bernice King, Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Amy Phuong, Atlanta Housing Authority President and CEO Catherine Buell, Atlanta City Councilmember Natalyn Archibong and the community to celebrate the opening of the new $23.5 million, 64,000-square-foot Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation and Aquatic Center.
After the former Martin Luther King, Jr. Natatorium was closed in 2012 due to structural concerns, Mayor Reed made a promise to the Old Fourth Ward community to rebuild the natatorium with additional amenities before the end of his term. Today, Mayor Reed was able to keep that promise.
“It was an honor to cut the ribbon on the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation and Aquatic Center today with Dr. Bernice King, surrounded by community members,” said Mayor Reed. “Atlanta is the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and every building, street and monument bearing his name should be representative of Dr. King’s life and legacy. The recreation and aquatic center offers best-in-class design and amenities, and is accessible by MARTA and the Atlanta Streetcar. The new Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation and Aquatic Center is a place for everyone, and we hope that all of our residents look to this facility as a source of pride and connection.”
The first of its kind, the facility features a 25-yard lap pool with the City’s first zero-entry indoor pool. The facility also includes a fitness and weight room, climbing wall, multi-use event area accommodating more than 200 people, rooftop event space, recreation classrooms, a senior center, a multi-purpose gymnasium, an indoor walking and jogging track, a lounge and workroom area, a computer lab, locker rooms and recreation staff offices.
“The Department of Parks and Recreation is proud to open the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation and Aquatic Center’s doors, and celebrate what this new facility means for the City of Atlanta,” said Amy Phuong, Commissioner of the department.
The Atlanta Housing Authority donated land for the new facility at 110 Hilliard Street, across from the King Memorial MARTA station and two blocks from the Atlanta Streetcar. The Renew Atlanta infrastructure program provided $17 million in funding, with the remaining funds provided by the Department of Parks and Recreation. Winter Johnson FS360, a joint venture of the Winter Johnson Group and FS360, created the design-build for the recreation and aquatic center, and architects from KAI Design & Build and Perkins + Will led the design process for the center.
Under Mayor Reed’s leadership, the Department of Parks and Recreation has reopened all the City’s recreation centers and formed partnerships to invest more than $6 million in philanthropic dollars in Centers of Hope. More than 3,500 young people receive leadership development training, participate in modern technology courses, and experience true mentorship at Centers of Hope each year. In addition, the department acquired an additional 171 acres of land in the City of Atlanta which includes 15 new parks. As a result, 64 percent of Atlanta residents live within a half mile walk of a park.