Visitor Center in King District to close for repairs in preparation for 2018

6:46 p.m Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 Local
JOHN SPINK / AJC/JOHN SPINK / AJC
January 12, 2017 Atlanta: Eagle's Landing High School student, Kaleb Carter-15 from Henry County visited the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site at 450 Auburn Ave NE in Atlanta in January. The Visitor Center is set to close on Monday for repairs. JOHN SPINK /JSPINK@AJC.COM

The Visitor Center at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site will be closed for two weeks for repairs starting Monday in anticipation of massive crowds in 2018.

Between Oct. 2-16, workers will clean the building’s HVAC system, remove and reinstall wall panels and repair and reseal the ceiling and floor. 

“It is our mission and goal to maintain and preserve the Visitor Center so it can continue to serve park visitors for many years to come,” said Park Superintendent Judy Forte. 

The renovations at the Visitor Center are part of an ongoing rehabilitation of the National Park Service’s Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in preparation of the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination.

Brant Sanderlin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta features the home, church and grave of the civil rights activist. AJC FILE PHOTO

Earlier this year, King’s birth home – one of the most popular tourist attraction in Atlanta – was closed for structural repairs. Forte said foot traffic throughout the Historic Site increases around significant dates in King’s story. 

The year 2018 is predicted to be one of the biggest for the area, which normally attracts up to a million visitors a year. 

During the temporary closure park rangers will staff an outdoor visitor information table underneath the canopy at the Visitor Center entrance. There, visitors can still get information and maps about the Historic Site, as well as sign up for tours. 

Phil Skinner/pskinner@ajc.com
This 2013 portrait of Superintendent Judy Forte in the room where Martin Luther King Jr. was born at the National Historic Site. 

Movies that are regularly shown in the Visitors Center auditorium, including “A New Time New Voice” and “Children of Courage,” will temporarily be shown in the basement of Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. 

While the Visitor Center will be closed, all of the other attractions - Historic Fire Station #6, The King Center (including Freedom Hall and the grave sites of Coretta and Martin Luther King Jr.), Ebenezer Baptist Church and the Birth Home - will remain open.

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