Central Park Work Underway

Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 11:40am

Join Mayor Soglin, Alder Marsha Rummel, Parks Director Kevin Briski, and other officials as they visit the work underway at the new Central Park, located along the East Isthmus rail line. They will meet at 2:00 p.m. Friday, August 30 at the construction site of the restrooms at western side of Ingersoll Street in the Brearly Square portion of the park.

Over a decade in the making, Central Park will encompass 2.5-acres between Brearly Street and Baldwin Street, and will include an amphitheater, multi-use pavilion, a skate park, a playground, community gardening plots, and a large lawn and stage for festivals.

"I am thrilled to attend the inauguration of phase one of the construction of Central Park," said Sixth District Alder Marsha Rummel. "Many partners and stakeholders helped us get to this point - the visionaries in the Marquette neighborhood who saw the possibility of Central Park over 20 years ago, the Center for Resilient Cities who initiated the planning in the East Rail corridor for a new park and convinced the Evjue Foundation to purchase some key parcels, the citizens who made up the Central Park Design and Implementation Committee, and the Mayor and the City Council who funded park planning and improvements."

Phase IA of Central Park began this week and will be completed in late December. It includes grading the site, constructing pathways with lighting and a "green" restroom building, and sidewalk along Wilson Street. Phase IB will include the at-grade pedestrian crosswalk over the railroad at Few Street, and the building of a skate park, likely to be done in 2014.

The skatepark, located on the east side of the park, has long been a focal point of the plans, as it will be the first skate park in Madison. The plans for the park incorporate "the look and feel of an outdoor plaza space with seat walls, steps, and landscaped areas," according to the project's final report, posted on the Parks Division website. The Madison Skatepark Fund has raised $515,000 toward its $750,000 goal. The City, County, and the Tony Hawk Foundation have led the way in contributions.

With its place on a capped Brownfield, the Parks Division wants the park to be eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as a beautiful community spot for all to enjoy. The "green" aspects of the park include reinforcing bike paths for commuters and residents, creating energy-harnessing artworks, and a restroom and storage facility with a green roof of low-growing plants.

"The green roof for the restroom facility is a sustainable practice," said Madison Parks Director Kevin Briski. "It will reduce the internal temperature of the building, reduce the heat island effect, and will manage storm water."

A pavement area will also be included just east of Ingersoll Street, to be used as a performance space across from the Great Lawn, and used in place of a gravel parking lot currently being used for a farmer's market. The Great Lawn can be used as a concert space, place for food carts, or a general gathering space. The park's design incorporates a reconstruction of a portion of Ingersoll so the park can be closed off for special events and feel like a continuous space.

"Since the project was first envisioned in 1970, community members have truly embraced the park, and have long supported and collaborated on its design through many public meetings the past decade," said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. "I look forward to seeing not only the initial work, but also the completion of the park."

Monetary support for the park has been made possible by $3.1 million in federal grants, and grants from the MG&E foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, and Research Products, demonstrating a vibrant public-private partnership for the upcoming park.

Central Park Task Force Members include Marsha Rummel, Joe Clausius, Bill Barker, Nancy Ragland, Joe Sensenbrenner, Brad Mullins, Nicole Craig, Leslie Schroeder, Nan Cheney, Phyllis Wilhelm, Amy Overby, Susan Schmitz, and Truly Remarkable Loon.

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  • Katie Crawley608-266-4611