Martin Luther King, Jr. Center to be Future Hurricane Shelter

The City of Gainesville is the recipient of a $200,000 Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) grant to renovate the Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Center.  Renovations will allow Alachua County and the City of Gainesville to use the facility as a hurricane shelter by the 2018 hurricane season.

"Residents of the Eastside of Gainesville have been limited in the number of shelters that are available during an emergency", said City of Gainesville District One Commissioner, Charles Goston.  "I am happy that my advocacy on behalf of our citizens contributed to the City receiving this state award to harden the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for use in emergencies, so that citizens in District One will have another close-by option for a safe haven."

Renovations will include window screens, hardened doorways, electrical work to accommodate generator power and minor structural improvements as needed.  The final cost of the project will not be determined until an engineering study is complete, with work to begin shortly thereafter.  These changes will bring the building into compliance with FDEM and Federal Emergency Management Agency standards. 

Once renovations are complete, the MLK facility will be available as an emergency shelter for hurricanes and other wind related events.  The facility will also be used as a location for post storm shelter as needed.   The earliest the facility will be available as a shelter will be late fall of this year. 

MLK will join the other 11 Alachua County shelters in the area:  Alachua County/City of Gainesville Senior Recreation Center, Rawlings Elementary, Westwood Middle, Talbot Elementary, Williams Elementary, Eastside High, Buchholz High, Meadowbrook Elementary, Chiles Elementary, Kanapaha Middle and the Easton Archery Complex in Newberry.

Please direct media inquiries to Chip Skinner, Assistant Public Information Officer, at or (352) 393‑7842.