After closing due to structural issues in 2012, the Martin Luther King Jr. Natatorium reopened in Atlanta on Monday.
According to wabe.com, people gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which featured music from the Morehouse Glee Club.
Dr. Bernice King spoke at the event, noting that her father was an avid swimmer, but her mother, Coretta Scott King, never learned to swim.
“My mother labored, back when my father was assassinated, she labored over ensuring that this community, this greater Auburn community, would have a facility where young people could come and especially enjoy swimming,” King said. She added: “When the previous natatorium was torn down, it kind of ripped my heart.”
The new facility is a few blocks from the previous location, and its $23.5 million price tag was funded by the Renew Atlanta infrastructure bond. The facility also has an indoor basketball court, computer lab, and senior center. It also features a stories-tall portrait of MLK at the entrance.
“I probably clocked more miles in the M.L. King pool than anybody in history,”said Sabir Muhammad, a former Stanford swimmer and American record holder. “I’m looking forward to seeing who the young one will be who will clock the most miles in this pool.”
Click here to see a slideshow of the ribbon-cutting ceremony and the new facility.
“We said in the city of Atlanta, that if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s name’s on it, it was going to be a place that you could take people to with pride, with dignity, with respect. And that is what this building is about today, ladies and gentlemen,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said.