Parks and Recreation Commissioner Amy Phuong at the new MLK Jr. Recreation and Aquatic Center.

The local media recently got an upclose look at the progress on the new Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation and Aquatic Center. The 64,000-square-foot facility, located on Hilliard Street next door Selena S. Butler Park and across the street from the King Memorial MARTA station, replaces the MLK Jr. Natatorium, which was closed in 2012 due to structural issues.

The facility will feature a zero entry pool, swim programs, football, softball, volleyball, space for traditional gym equipment, locker and shower rooms, a running track, a computer lounge, gathering spaces, a senior center, and even a 24’ climbing wall.

The building itself is the length of a football field, and has a maximum capacity of 1,800 people, with a pool large enough to accommodate up to 380 bathers at a time. The land was gifted to the department by its previous owner, the Atlanta Housing Authority, which has made this ambitious plan possible.

The center has, at its heart, a mission to meet the needs of the surrounding community.

“We’ve never had a space this comprehensive,” said Amy Phuong, Commissioner of the Atlanta Parks & Recreation Department, gesturing at the long hallway which will soon be bustling with visitors. With accessibility in mind, the facility aims to remain a financially viable option for guests by keeping fees low: admission will be only $5 a day, and yearly passes will be roughly $10 per month.

To keep up with progress on the projects and more, visit the website at (search under parks and recreation) or follow on social media via

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Isadora Pennington

Isadora Pennington is a freelance writer and photographer based in Atlanta. She is the editor of Sketchbook by Rough Draft, a weekly Arts newsletter.

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