Moving Central Park Forward: Mayor Names Community Leaders to Design and Implementation Task Force

Monday, March 19, 2007 - 3:26am

Madison - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is moving discussion on the Central Park proposal forward, with today's announcement of the community leaders who will comprise the Central Park Design and Implementation Task Force.

"Central Park is a far-reaching, unique and ambitious proposal to enhance the quality of life in Madison," said Mayor Cieslewicz. "This task force, which includes representatives from the neighborhood, the business community and other key stakeholders, will help us address the key questions that remain to be answered regarding this unique project. The primary question for the task force is, how can we develop a 'signature park' for Madison without straining resources for the rest of our parks system?"

Planning for the Central Park proposal has been underway for several years, led by the non-profit Urban Open Space Foundation. The Task Force is charged with moving that planning forward, with four key responsibilities: development of a final park plan, a draft Memorandum of Understanding, a phased implementation plan for the park and a proposed fundraising plan. A report from the Task Force to the Common Council on these items will be due by January, 2008.

The Task Force membership announced today is comprised of:

• Ald. Judy Olson: The outgoing alder for the 6th aldermanic district;
• William Barker: Chair of the City of Madison Parks Commission;
• Nancy Ragland: Former Executive Director, Olbrich Botanical Gardens;
• Joe Sensenbrenner: Chair of the Urban Open Space Foundation Board, former mayor of Madison;
• Leslie Schroeder: Neighborhood resident;
• Marsha Rummel: President of the Marquette Neighborhood Association;
• Henry Cuthbert: Senior Legal Counsel, UW-Madison;
• Susan Schmitz: Executive Director, Downtown Madison Incorporated;
• Phyllis Wilhelm: Director of Economic Development, Madison Gas and Electric;
• Amy Overby: Vice President, Madison Community Foundation; and
• Brad Mullins: Mullins Development Group.

"I know of no other civic opportunity with greater potential to delight and engage future generations," said Joe Sensenbrenner, Chair of the Urban Open Space Foundation Board and former Mayor of Madison. "It complements Monona Terrace and the Overture Center with 17 acres of innovative design available to people of every age and background. I am confident that the successful approaches used by Madison's Olbrich Gardens and Chicago's Millennium Park provide a roadmap for helping us make this happen."

"I just walked the site this week," said Nancy Ragland, former Executive Director of Olbrich Botanical Gardens. "It's ripe with possibilities and waiting for doses of imagination and generosity. It has potential to be a haven of trees, benches, festivals, play spaces, biking and green spaces that would welcome all Madisonians."

Since taking office, Cieslewicz has working to expand the network of parks throughout the city. He kept his commitment to clear the backlog for building parks in Madison's newest neighborhoods on the far east and far west sides, and has provided funding for the new Door Creek Community Park, a major new east side park to complement the west side's Elver Park. To care for these new parks, the mayor's 2007 budget restored funding for the Parks Department to immediately hire three additional full-time workers.

  • George Twigg, (608) 266-4611