201 Seymour Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Nearby Recreation Center: Luxton Recreation Center
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Major investments at Central Gym Park in 2018 were made possible with funding from the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan. This historic agreement between MPRB and the City of Minneapolis helps address racial and economic equity across 160 neighborhood parks and provides $11 million annually to maintain, repair and replace facilities.
Name: The park was referred to in the neighborhood as Chergosky Park long before the park board acquired the land in 1992. Chergosky was the name of a grocer in the neighborhood. The park board continued using the name although it was never formally adopted.
Acquisition and Development
The acquisition and development of this small park and playground for children, a totlot, in southeast Minneapolis, separated by a sound wall from I-94, may have set a speed record. In response to requests from the neighborhood to take over and develop the land as a park in February 1992, the park board expressed its support in April for efforts to revitalize the park. In July of that year the park board applied to the state for acquisition of the land, which was originally acquired by the state for non-payment of taxes. In its application to the state for the land, the park board called it “vacant and unused” and “suitable for park purposes.” The development of the small park was aided by a donation of $7,500 from the Weyerhauser Foundation in August and initial improvements to the park were completed by September.
What makes the speed of development especially noteworthy was that at the beginning of 1992, the City of Minneapolis, not the state, owned the land. The city had acquired the land from the state in 1942 to be used exclusively for street purposes. At that time the land was on the state’s list of property forfeited for failure to pay taxes. Due to that restriction, using the land for a park required that the city return the land to the state and the state then give it to the park board.
The park board has acquired significant properties over the years from the state’s list of tax-forfeited properties, including parts of North Mississippi, Bossen, Northeast, Peavey and McRae parks.
Park history compiled and written by David C. Smith.