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MLK national park will reopen amid shutdown after Delta Air Lines grant

The National Park Service said on Thursday that it will reopen the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park ahead of the coming holiday honoring Dr. King's legacy after receiving an $83,500 grant from the Delta Air Lines Foundation.

"This is yet another example of private organizations stepping up to ensure that our visitors from across the nation and around the world are able to have a meaningful experience at national parks," David L. Bernhardt, the acting secretary of the Interior, told CNN of the airline's gesture on Thursday.

With the grant, the park will reportedly be reopened on Saturday and remain open for 16 days so that people can celebrate the civil rights hero ahead of the federal holiday on Monday and as the state makes preparations to host the Super Bowl game on Feb. 3.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian, who is also a trustee of the Delta Air Lines Foundation, told CNN that the group "felt it was important we do our part to ensure that the historical landmarks be accessible to the public."

"Dr. King was about bringing people together and at Delta, we are about making the world a smaller place," Bastian added. 

The grant reportedly cover costs cleanup, administration, maintenance and operating costs for the 16 days.

Most of the sites that are a part of the historical park, which includes the renowned Ebenezer Baptist Church where King served as a co-pastor, have been closed since the government entered a partial shutdown on Dec. 22.

As CNN notes, other sites across the country that honor the civil rights hero and the iconic movement have also been closed since the start of the shutdown as most National Park Service employees have been furloughed due to the closure.

This includes the National Museum of African American History and Culture located in Washington and the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site located in Alabama.

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