The National Park Service will use a grant from Delta Air Lines and fee revenues to reopen the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta despite the government shutdown.
Most sites of the park, including the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and King's birth home, have been closed since the partial government shutdown began on December 22. Travelers missed their chance to relive the civil rights leader's legacy and many others were worried they could not visit the sites during the upcoming federal holiday honoring King.
The historic park will open Saturday for 16 days to ensure people in Atlanta can celebrate King's legacy in advance of the holiday on Monday and travelers attending the Super Bowl game on February 3 have a chance to visit the sites, the park service said.
An $83,500 grant from the Delta Air Lines Foundation will cover the cleanup, administration, maintenance and operating costs of employees not covered under recreation fee funds.
In a statement, Delta CEO and trustee of the Delta Air Lines Foundation Ed Bastian said the group "felt it was important we do our part to ensure that the historical landmarks be accessible to the public."
The Atlanta site includes the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was co-pastor for years, a visitors' center and the home where King was born in 1929.