Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall introduced legislation at the July 7 city council meeting to relocate the closed Martin Luther King Jr. Natatorium from Boulevard to Hilliard Street in the Old Fourth Ward.
Approximately 1.77 acres of land located at 110 Hilliard Street would be donated to the city. The city would use part of the 2015 infrastructure bonds proceeds to complete the project.
“The MLK natatorium attracts the city’s most diverse population of users,” said Hall. “I was a lifeguard there when I was a teenager. It has been important to me that we keep the facility in the Old Fourth Ward.”
The proposed site is two blocks from an Atlanta Streetcar stop and adjacent to the recently renovated Selena Sloan Butler Park Recreation Center, creating a city recreation hub. The Atlanta Housing Authority would donate the land for an indoor pool, classrooms, and meeting areas adjacent to the existing recreation center.
The Hilliard Street location would also be just one block from the King Memorial MARTA station for easy access. The pool would also be convenient for the new transit-oriented mixed use development adjacent to the station, which will include more than 300 apartment units.
The current natatorium, built in 1978, was closed by the city in 2012 after an engineering study determined that its underlying structure and steel supports were compromised.
The ordinance was referred to the city’s finance/executive committee for further discussion.