The Eternal Flame burns near the tomb of Martin Luther King Jr., overlooking the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park. PHIL SKINNER / PSKINNER@AJC.COM

Delta donates $400K to renovate King National Historical Park

Delta Air Lines has committed $400,000 to the National Park Service for major upgrades and renovations at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta.

The latest donation, announced Friday, comes two days after what would have been the civil rights leader’s 91st birthday.

It will go toward improving the lighting and electrical systems at the promenade and at the visitor center access areas, said Judy Forte, superintendent of the park. The project, which will enhance safety and security, is expected to be completed in 2021.

“Since 1996, the visitor center and promenade have lighted the path for more than 15 million visitors to personally experience the places in Atlanta where Dr. King’s life and legacy took shape,” Forte said in a statement. “The National Park Service is honored to partner with Delta Air Lines again in providing visitors an encounter worthy of the great treasures preserved and interpreted here at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park.”

Last year, the Delta Air Lines Foundation gave an $83,500 grant to keep the park open during the government shutdown. The latest donation comes as thousands of people are expected to flow through the park this week in celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday.

Tours of King’s birth home, which was recently renovated, have been ongoing. On Sunday, the park service will hold a free gospel tribute concert at Ebenezer Baptist Church to celebrate King’s legacy through music, song, dance and spoken word.

On Monday, the Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Commemorative Service will begin at 10 a.m. at Ebenezer.

“At Delta, our values center around connecting the world. There are few who have left a legacy of connection as profound as Dr. King. We are honored to support improvements that will allow the public to visit the park and remember his life for decades to come,” said Tad Hutcheson, managing director of community engagement.


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