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Neighborhood Programs and Services

The City of Madison has an array of programs and services that improve neighborhoods. Below is a list of some citywide programs and services that many neighborhood associations have tapped into to improve their respective areas. Take a look and try one yourself!



Beautification, Façade Improvements, and Gateway Enhancements


Neighborhood Planning Grants: Neighborhood associations, Business Associations and Planning Councils are eligible to apply for grant funding to build capacity, prepare neighborhood strategic plans, or enhance gateways or gathering places within their neighborhoods.


Façade Improvement Grants: To encourage business owners to reinvest in the downtown and smaller, neighborhood business areas, the City of Madison offers grants to assist in the exterior renovations of these otherwise sound and vital properties.




Development Process

Developers Guide: Land Use and Construction Approval Process: A booklet describing the review processes for development.


Development Ordinance: Madison General Ordinance Sec. 28.12 (10)(c) and 28.12(11)(d) requires notification of Alderpersons and neighborhood association when applying for a text/map amendment or conditional use permit.


Participating in the Development Process: A Best Practices Guild for Developers, Neighborhoods & Policymakers: Provides information about the review process that will help developers and neighborhood residents to foster a higher level of communications during the development review process.





EnAct: EnAct is a program to help you live a greener, more sustainable life and to build community. Using the EnAct: Steps to Greener Living book as a guide, you can work on your own or create a team of friends, coworkers, or neighbors. Together, you will discover more than 1,000 actions to conserve energy, waste less, save water, drive less, eat well, and save money.


Rain Gardens: Rain gardens are specially-designed gardens that collect and infiltrate stormwater from impervious areas such as roofs, driveways, and heavily-compacted lawns. Building rain gardens is a great way for individuals and neighborhoods to get involved in improving our lakes and streams. Vilas Neighborhood (Adams Street) and Regent (Eton Ridge) are two neighborhoods that have rain gardens in the terrace.


Mpowering: The first step in making our community the clean, green, healthy capital is to take the Mpower Pledge. You can take the pledge as an individual or a business. Each pledge is designed to provide a person or a business the opportunity to make a positive difference in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.


GreenPower Neighborhood Challenge: Between January 1 and September 30, 2010, 16 Madison neighborhoods worked to see who could sign up the most new Green Power Tomorrow customers. The competition was lively but friendly as you can see in this video. In the end, the Carpenter-Ridgeway and Westchester Gardens neighborhoods came out on top.


Portable Energy Meters: Madison and other participating Dane County public libraries became the first in North America to add portable energy meters to their circulating collections through WEEB funds and MGE donations. Accurate and easy to use, this tool has helped hundreds of individuals and businesses save energy and make appliance decisions. Get your neighborhood involved by promoting energy conscious decisions.



Events & Festivals


Block Parties: Bringing neighbors together is a fundamental to building support for your neighborhood association as well as to have FUN. A Street Use Permit is required by the City of Madison for any event or activity that takes place on city streets.


Neighborhood Picnic in Parks: Neighborhood Associations frequently organize events in our city parks, such as Easter Egg Hunts, 4th of July Picnics, Halloween Parties, or Movies in the Park. These small events do not require a permit but it is wise to contact the Madison Parks to make sure there is no competing event scheduled. Be sure to reserve a shelter or plan a rain-date if your event is contingent upon the weather.


4th of July Parade: Contact Madison Fire Department Community Education Unit (608-266-4709) during May to mid-June to schedule a Fire Engine or Ladder for 4th of July Parades. Vehicle assignments will be based on first-come, first-serve basis. Specific information includes: Name of Neighborhood Association or Group; Contact Name and Number; Parade Time from Time Range Listed; and Address of Staging Area.




Adopt Ice Partnership: Looking for a project that brings smiles to children and adults during our cold winters? Madison Parks invites neighborhoods to combine city resources with volunteer power to provide the community with quality outdoor hockey and ice skating.


Madison Parks Foundation: The Madison Parks Foundation works collaboratively with the Madison Parks Division to help bring your park improvement efforts to fruition. The Madison Parks Foundation acts as the tax exempt repository for funds raised, simplifying the group's task by assuming all tax reporting activities. The Foundation is independent of the city Parks Division and no monies raised are used for those services that taxes support.


Madison Parks Watch: Neighborhoods Associations can take an active role, as well as neighbors whose homes or businesses overlook public parks, to serve as park ambassadors. Neighbors joined together to learn how to organize a watch program, what to watch for and how to communicate their concerns to city officials.


Parks Volunteer Program: A neighborhood-based program that allows neighbors to take an active role in improving their parklands.


People For Parks Program: A dollar-for-dollar matching program to purchase playground equipment, trees, trash receptacles, and benches that are located in public parks and open spaces. For every dollar your neighborhood association fundraises, the Parks Division will match it to help improve the City's park areas.



Property Maintenance

Exterior Junk, Trash, and Debris: Madison General Ordinance 27.05(2)(c) requires all exterior property areas to be properly maintained in a clean and sanitary condition free from debris, rubbish or garbage, physical hazards, rodent harborage and infestation, and animal feces.


Co-Pay Graffiti Removal Program: The City of Madison Mayor and Council have approved a program to assist the community in combating the increasing level of graffiti vandalism.


Graffiti Complaint Form: Submit a form that identifies the location of graffiti within the City of Madison.


Graffiti Hotline: Call 911 to report vandalism in progress. Call Crime Stoppers, 266-6014 to give information if you know who may be involved in graffiti vandalism. You can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward!


Inoperable & Junk Cars: Madison General Ordinance 28.11(3)(a) requires all vehicles parked on a residential lot shall be in condition for safe and effective performance of the function for which they are designed.


Snow Enforcement: Madison City Ordinance 10.28 requires that sidewalks be cleared of all snow and ice not later than 12:00 noon of the day following each snowfall.


Tall Grass and Weeds: With the exception of a prior application and approval of a "Natural Lawn", Madison General Ordinance 27.05(2)(f) requires all lawns shall be maintained to a height not to exceed eight (8) inches in length.




Citizen Police Academy: The Madison Police Department Citizen’s Academy is a program that is designed to give the public a working knowledge and understanding of the values, goals, objectives and operation of the City of Madison Police Department. Attending the academy is one way in which neighborhood association members can improve the line of communications, build a positive relationship with Police, and have an open dialogue of activities and solutions to safety issues on the neighborhood level.


Emergency Preparedness: Public Health - Madison & Dane County is engaged in planning with multiple agencies and surrounding counties to protect public health in the event of bioterrorism, infectious disease outbreaks, natural disasters and other public health emergencies.


Fire and Injury Prevention: The Community Education Unit is responsible for educating the public on fire prevention and safety, as well as other injury prevention education. Neighborhood Associations are welcome to request presentation on emergency preparedness and other related topics.


Madison Parks Watch: Neighborhoods Associations can take an active role, as well as neighbors whose homes or businesses overlook public parks, to serve as park ambassadors. Neighbors joined together to learn how to organize a watch program, what to watch for and how to communicate their concerns to city officials.


Neighborhood Police Officers: The Madison Police Department has a long history of intimately connecting police officers with citizens. Neighborhood Associations should work closely with MPD and their respective Central, East, North, South and West Districts neighborhood officers.


Neighborhood Watch Program: Description of how to establish, requirements of, and responsibilities of neighborhood watch groups.


Personal and Neighborhood Safety Guidelines: Madison Police Department has compiled information to help you and neighbors take action to protect yourself at home, neighborhood, vehicle, public transportation, and in public places. In addition, they have programs to discuss identity theft, internet safety, and cyber bullying.


Police District Newsletters: One way for Neighborhood and Business Associations to keep informed of safety issues within the neighborhood is to receive police district newsletters.





Flags Over Dane County: The “Flags Over Dane County” project is designed to help raise the awareness and safety of pedestrians by educating the pedestrian about safe crossing of streets and educating motorists regarding laws of yielding and stopping for pedestrians legally crossing the street.


Speeding Hotline: The Speeding Hotline (608-266-4624) provides citizens with a way of communicating to the Madison Police the locations where they feel speeding is a problem.


Traffic Enforcement Request/Violation Form: Madison Police Department will take traffic complaints on-line.


Traffic Enforcement Safety Team: Madison Police Department works to enforce traffic safety issues, such as speeding on public streets.


Neighborhood Speed Watch Program: With guidance from the Traffic Engineering Division and support from the Madison Police Department, city residents set up and monitor speed display boards on selected neighborhood streets. The boards display the street speed limit as well as the actual travel speed of passing cars.


Neighborhood Traffic Management Program: Funding available for neighborhoods to develop a plan to address traffic issues within their neighborhood.