Photos courtesy City of Atlanta Parks & Recreation Department.

The City of Atlanta has opened the new $23.5 million, 64,000-square-foot Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation and Aquatic Center in the Old Fourth Ward.

“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 Kasim 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. “This beautiful, state-of-the-art facility offers recreational programming to residents of all ages and abilities and serves as an essential communal gathering space, while embodying what all our recreational facilities should look like the future.”

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. The total project cost was $24.4 million. 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.

The facility replaces the old MLK Jr. Natatorium that was closed in 2012 after structural issues were found.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.