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King Center Doors Will Not Close

All 11 Fire Code Violations Addressed and Corrected

Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Updated: Saturday, October 17, 2009 23:10

Image: King Center Doors Will Not Close

thekingcenter.com

The King Center was established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King

Image: King Center Doors Will Not Close

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The Center was given a February 18, deadline to meet all codes and according to officials, it met that deadline a day early.

Doors of The King Center, official memorial site of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., will remain open to the public after all 11 fire code violations issued by the Atlanta Fire department in past weeks were addressed.

The historic site located near downtown Atlanta was sited by inspectors on February 4 for minor violations of codes that included installing and repairing exit signs, installing fire extinguishers, moving combustible items stored in a corridor and testing the sprinkler system.

The Center was given a February 18, deadline to meet all codes and according to officials, it met that deadline a day early.

However, the National Park Service says there are approximately $11.6 million is still needed in repairs at the center which was established in 1968, by Coretta Scott King.

“I think this is something that definitely needs be addressed because this is a important historic site and something that people should be able to bring their grandkids and their kids bring their grandkids to visit,” says Ravi Windom, a senior public relations major at Howard University in Washington, DC and a native of Atlanta.

Yusuf Neville, sophomore biology major at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia agrees and thinks there should be a fundraiser.

"It is the King center and it is important, not just for the Atlanta but for the world.”

According to center’s website, more than 650,000 people gather their from all over world “to pay homage to Dr. King, view unique exhibits illustrating his life and teachings and visit the King Center library, Archives, his final resting place, his birth home, gift shop and other facilities.”

Yet the site had not been inspected since 1997 because “officials thought the center was the responsibility of the National Park Service,” said Anthony Jackson, Atlanta chief fire inspector.

However, the National Park Service is responsible for maintaining the visitor center, King’s birth home and Ebenezer Baptist Church, not the King Center.

Neville said he thinks “it is bad that problems at the site have been overlooked in the past, probably because it is the King Center. I guess people expected it be in order.”

But the center is far from being in order, despite recent improvements.

Because of its financial dilemma, it recent years staff and programs have been cut back.

Windom feels that whatever it takes to make the needed repairs to center should be done and that we all need to fund the money for it

“If we can raise money for tsunami relief other projects, then we definitely need to raise money for this.”

In light of Black History Month, Windom feels this is definitely a task that needs to be tackled by the Black community.

For more information about donating to the King Center, go to

www.kingcenter.org or e-mail the center at donations@thekingcenter.org.

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