[Ed. note: the following is a press release from USNPS.]
Atlanta – The National Park Service (NPS) announced today that Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park will open for 16 days beginning Saturday, January 19, in advance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday and days after the 90th anniversary of his birth. This is possible thanks to a grant from The Delta Air Lines Foundation and revenue generated by NPS recreation fees.
The grant covering operations for 16 days ensures those visiting Atlanta for February’s big football game will have a chance to visit this top historic attraction.
“It is not possible to overstate our appreciation to The Delta Airlines Foundation for ensuring the Martin Luther King, Jr. sites are accessible to the American people as we honor Dr. King on the 90th anniversary of his birth,” said Acting Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt. “This is yet another example of private organizations stepping up to ensure that our visitors from across the nation and around the world are able to have a meaningful experience at national parks.”
The NPS will open the doors of Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, encompassing 35 acres in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn Historic District, at 9 a.m. on Saturday, January 19. This includes important sites associated with the life and legacy of the civil rights leader, including the home where he was born, Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he served as co-pastor, historic Fire Station No. 6 and a the park visitor center.
“As we celebrate his life and legacy this holiday weekend, we felt it was important we do our part to ensure that the historical landmarks be accessible to the public,” said Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines and Trustee of The Delta Air Lines Foundation. “Dr. King was about bringing people together and at Delta, we are about making the world a smaller place.”
The $83,500 grant from The Delta Air Lines Foundation will cover the re-opening of the park, including clean up, administration, maintenance and operating costs of employees not covered under the fee collection funds. As part of the airline’s commitment to support education, the grant contributes to Delta’s initiative to give one percent of its annual net profits to key community organizations where employees live, work and serve.
The NPS has contributed funds derived from entrance, camping, parking and other fees collected from park visitors. The Department of the Interior has determined that these funds can and should be used to provide immediate maintenance assistance and services to parks during the lapse of appropriations.