4305 E 42nd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
10 am - 9 pm daily
Labor Day through Labor Day*
*Wading pools located on or adjacent school sites will open after the last day of school and close the day before school begins. These dates are determined by Minneapolis Public Schools and change each year.
Ice rinks are closed for the season.
Recreation Center: Hiawatha School Recreation Center
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Basketball Court is half-court.
Prairie garden is located between school and neighborhood center.
This park will be affected by a completed park or service area master plan. View Master Plans
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.
Size: 4.04 acres
Service Area: South
Master Plan: After two years of extensive community engagement, the Hiawatha School Park Master Plan was approved in 2016 as part of the South Service Area Master Plan. The Hiawatha School Park Master Plan will guide outdoor park improvements at Hiawatha School Park for the next 20-30 years. Click the link below to view the master plan.
Name: The park is exactly what it was named, a playground park for Hiawatha Elementary School.
Acquisition and Development
The park board acquired the land for a playground at Hiawatha School in 1931 when it swapped land with the school board. The park board gave up land it owned at Page School, near Minnehaha Parkway, and Hamilton School, near Glenwood-Camden (Memorial) Parkway, for the Hiawatha land. The park properties traded to the school board had an appraised value of just under $10,000. Officially, the park board listed Hiawatha School Playground in its inventory as a donation with a value of $15,525.
The playground was not developed beyond being graded for a skating rink until residents of the area petitioned for improvements in 1939. At that time plans were drawn up for the installation of a large skating rink, softball and baseball fields, tennis courts, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and a small amount of playground equipment. The work was planned for the 1940 Works Progress Administration (WPA) program, a program created by the federal government to provide jobs during the depression. The area was regraded, the fields built and the entire area seeded or sodded. In general about 25% of the cost of WPA projects—the vast majority of park improvement projects during the 1930s and early 1940s—was paid by the park board, but park inventories attributed none of the money spent for these improvements to the park board.
It wasn’t until 1963 that more extensive facilities were provided at the park. In that year a park shelter was built, the athletic fields were enlarged and lighted, a wading pool was built, and new playground equipment was installed.
The shelter was replaced by a neighborhood recreation center attached to the school in 1979.
In 2000 a state-of-the-art handicapped-accessible playground was developed in the park.
Park history compiled and written by David C. Smith.