The sun is out and this is the season to get outdoors and enjoy all of the amazing things the City has to offer. Festivals like the Juneteeth Atlanta Parade and Music Festival, the Virginia Highland Summer Fest, and the Sweet Auburn Summer Music Festival will allow all of us to revel in our great parks and public spaces. Atlanta’s recreation and tennis centers will be bustling with activities, many of them free to our seniors and young people.
Atlanta’s innovative Play Mobile, a recreation center on wheels, is now visiting neighborhoods, giving young people who live in areas without a static recreation center the opportunity to enjoy sports, games, fitness and arts and crafts. And our 14 amazing pools and natatoriums are now open, giving everyone in our city access to a beautiful facility with a pool where they cool off on hot days. I am proud to make good on my promise to reopen all of Atlanta’s 10 outdoor pools and four natatoriums, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of these facilities.
I’m also continuing to make young people in the City of Atlanta a priority through the Centers of Hope and my Summer Reading Program. When I became Mayor, I promised to transform many of our recreation centers into comprehensive centers for learning and enrichment in Atlanta neighborhoods. Our 10 Centers of Hope are open and available for young people. In addition, my Summer Reading Club is returning this year to promote literacy by offering free books and reading events for children from birth through age eight and their families. Last year, we provided more than 15,000 free books for children through the program. This year, children and families can obtain free books at Zoo Atlanta, the Children’s Museum of Atlanta and other locations throughout the city.
Native Atlantans know our city has much to offer, but this is also a time when thousands of visitors will experience it for the first time. Atlanta is full of history, culture, sports and food. Our tourist attractions, from the Georgia Aquarium to the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site, to the Fox Theatre, to the College Football Hall of Fame make the City of Atlanta the best place to visit in the South for a vacation. And with the new Atlanta Streetcar, getting around to many of these attractions is easier than ever. We launched the Streetcar in December and in a very short amount of time more than a quarter-million people have taken advantage of it. Rides on the Streetcar, which connects Centennial Olympic Park with the MLK National Historic Site, are free throughout 2015.
The pulse of the City of Atlanta is strong as ever. The City is alive with the energy of all of the positive developments we have continued to make here. Our neighborhoods are bustling with new development. Our business community is welcoming new corporate headquarters and new jobs. And our festivals and attractions show that Atlanta is a world-class place to live, work and visit. I thank you for being a part of it.
Mayor Kasim Reed