RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Saturday was a day of celebrating something new, while not forgetting the journey to get to this point.
“When there were no parks to go to, Chavis Park is where we played. This is a park that we have to remember those who proceeded us,” said Raleigh City Councilman Corey Branch.
Saturday marked the reopening of John Chavis Memorial Park near downtown Raleigh.
City leaders along with many in the community came out for the event.
The park was initially built in 1937 as a segregated park for the city’s Black residents. It drew African-Americans from across the southeast.
The man that it’s named after, John Chavis, fought in the Revolutionary War and was a free Black man. He was also a teacher and minister in Raleigh.
The park itself is on the National Register of Historic Places.
“But we are thankful that we have this park now that the federal government is helping to bring this history and beauty back to life along with local partners,” said North Carolina Congresswoman Deborah Ross.
After two years of construction, the park now has a new community center, playground, and central plaza.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” said Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin.
Baldwin also said Saturday in front of the crowd that the next city bond will have $45 million for the second phase of Chavis Park.