History

Weigent Park started when the high school was vacated in 1967. In 1971, the city had to figure out what to do with the school building and grounds. 

Marianne O'Neil suggested to be used as a self-supporting community center.

Developers submitted plans to construct apartments on the site, come with plans to use the entire block, others with plans leaving half the block as an open park. One persistent developer was Gerrard Realty. Neighboring residents strongly opposed the apartments, fearing an influx of college students. 

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gelatt offered $50,000 for the project if it was kept as open space. 

The Chamber of Commerce had seven suggestions: 

  1. High rise condominiums
  2. Single-dwelling homes
  3. Community Center for senior citizens, youth organizations, museum art gallery, and the La Crosse Symphony
  4. New swimming pool (at the time there was the possibility of the college taking over the municipal pool)
  5. Ice arena
  6. Park development
  7. Remodel existing building for a junior high school

On November 10, 1971 the school board approved selling the site. 

The City of La Crosse razed the building at a cost of $24,975 in 1972. The City then made an offer of $79,000 for the site, out of which the expense of razing it would be credited. 

In November 1975, the City of La Crosse approved the development of old Central High land into a park. Within a year, bids were received for the park development including: two tennis courts with fencing, a softball field with fencing, a shelter with restrooms, tennis court lighting and landscaping (August 1976). 

Work was completed on the park at a cost of $105,629, of which $47,000 came from an Housing and Urban Development Grant in 1977. La Crosse's new park was named Weigent Park in honor of Walter "Babe" Weigent (1900-1967) former coach and athletic director at Central High School. 

A new flagpole was erected in the park. The old flagpole from the school was removed when the school was razed, but a memorial plaque from it was saved and placed by the new flagpole, which reads:
Dedicated to the memory of Veterans of the Civil War, 1961-1865. Presented by Auxiliary to sons for Union Veterans of the Civil War. June 14, 1940.