Last Updated: 06/08/2017

Warner Park Shelter


The Park and Open Space Plan (POSP) is updated every five years to stay current with changing recreational trends, demographics, park needs, and to reflect integration with the planning efforts of complementary City agencies, as well as county and statewide efforts.  The Park and Open Space Plan examines overall park growth, land development, and is used as a planning document by City Boards & Commissions, City agencies and staff, other governments and agencies, and interested citizens and volunteers. 
This plan seeks to be evidence-based and, as such, utilizes extensive public input, census data, park use records, geographic information systems mapping and other data informing databases. It is subject to public review and hearings and is adopted by the Board of Parks Commissioners and Common Council.  

The POSP satisfies DNR Chapter NR 50 and NR 51, which is the  Wisconsin administrative code requiring local municipalities to adopt a local comprehensive outdoor recreation plan to be eligible for several DNR administered funding programs.  On May 15, 2012, the City of Madison Common Council adopted the 2012- 2017 Park and Open Space Plan.

What do you love most about Madison's park and open spaces? What would you like to change?  What would improve them for future generations? 
We have been working over the past year to provide opportunities to voice your ideas and values for the future of the park and open space system including:

    Engaging workshops focusing on specific themes pertaining to the future of the park system.  These included Hip Hop Parkitecture, Panel Discussion: Madison Parks and Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change and Discover Madison Parks! Connecting Kids to Nature.

  • COMMUNITY SURVEY - 1,608 Competed Surveys! (Survey closed on March 23, 2017)

    Online survey for residents to provide feedback on the Madison Parks system.

  • COMMUNITY VISIONING SESSIONS  (Completed) - 120 Participants! - Meetings held on 1/31/2017, 2/6/2017, 2/14/2017. 3/1/2017 & 3/23/2017

    Community meetings to share your ideas and vision for the future of the Madison Park system.  The City held five (5) community visioning sessions at various locations throughout the city from January until March 2017.
  • COMMENT CARDS -  888 Comment Cards Collected!

    A quick way to gain insight into how people in use parks in our community. Comment cards were distributed at over 40 community events & public meetings, all Madison libraries, and (14) community/neighborhood centers. They were also available online.


    SOPARC is a validated direct real-time observation tool for assessing  park and recreation areas. Madison Parks is currently running a pilot assessment with community volunteers, neighborhood associations and Friends of groups, to gather observation data for Vilas, Elver, Warner, and James Madison Park.  For more information contact


    The City of Madison is asking for feedback from the over 160 organizations that reserve or heavily use Madison Parks Facilities.  Email if your organization is interested in completing this survey.

    Imagine Madison is a unique public listening campaign, designed by the City of Madison alongside members of the community as part of the City of Madison Comprehensive Plan Update.


    A collaborative project with the University of Wisconsin to identify park needs and concerns in specific communities. The City will meet with approximately 250 people to have discussions regarding Madison parks.

    Neighborhood Resource Teams comprised of city staff and community members serving specific neighborhoods.