How to Use Building Blocks

Welcome to Building Blocks, a partnership-building resource for Madisonís neighborhood associations. Each of the following chapters provides not only descriptions of neighborhood improvements and pertinent City programs, services, and processes, but also step-by-step guidance on how neighborhood associations can work with residents and businesses, district Alderpersons, community-based groups, and City staff to implement improvements that enhance Madisonís neighborhoods. 

In addition to providing valuable City resource information, Building Blocks presents success stories from Madisonís neighborhoods Ė examples of neighborhood improvements accomplished through creative partnerships between neighborhood associations and the City of Madison. Building Blocks will help Madisonís neighborhood associations continue this great civic tradition.

How To Get Started:

  v   Identify neighborhood improvement goals. What neighborhood improvements would your neighborhood association, residents, and businesses like to help implement? A neighborhood improvement can be anything that makes your neighborhood a better place to live. Building Blocks focuses primarily on physical neighborhood improvements such as neighborhood identification signs, park improvements, public art, street landscaping, street and sidewalk improvements, and business district improvements.

  v  Consult appropriate Building Blocks chapter(s). Consult the Building Blocks table of contents and index to find the chapter(s) that can help you meet your improvement goals. Each chapter describes improvement requirements and at least one City agency to contact for more information.

  v  Contact the appropriate City agency(ies). For more information, contact the City staff and agencies listed in the following pages. Each chapter provides at least one City staff phone number, fax number, e-mail address, and postal mailing address.

  v  Contact your district Alderperson. District Alderpersons often have extensive experience working with neighborhood associations, community-based groups, and City staff to implement neighborhood improvements. Develop an ongoing dialogue with your district Alderperson to help your neighborhood association implement neighborhood improvements.

  v  Develop preliminary project plan. Based on information obtained from Building Blocks, City staff, and your district Alderperson, develop a preliminary project plan that identifies: 1) the appropriate City approval agency(ies) for your improvement project; 2) preliminary cost estimates; 3) potential funding sources, including City budget requests, City funding programs, local community-based organizations, and neighborhood fundraising; and 4) potential roles for neighborhood volunteers.

  v  Organize a neighborhood meeting(s). Organize a neighborhood meeting to present your preliminary project plan to neighborhood residents and businesses; assess the level of support for the plan; and solicit contributions of funding, in-kind goods and services, and volunteer time. 

  v  Develop an implementation plan. With input from your neighborhood meeting(s), translate your preliminary plan into an implementation plan including a project timeline that describes what needs to be accomplished by whom and when.

  v  Celebrate accomplishments. Celebrate your neighborhood improvement accomplishments by featuring them in neighborhood publications and at neighborhood meetings. 

  v Develop neighborhood improvement networks. Through the process of implementing neighborhood improvement projects, your neighborhood association can cultivate a network of residents, businesses, and community-based organizations for ongoing neighborhood improvements. 


What do you like most about Building Blocks? How could it be improved? What neighborhood improvement topics do you want more information on? Submit Building Blocks comments to:

Jule Stroick, Neighborhood Planner

Dept. of Planning and Development

Municipal Building, Rm. LL-100

215 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd.

Madison, WI 53703

Phone: 267-8744 Fax: 267-8739




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