Ribbon Cutting Set for Accessible Playground at Rennebohm Park
Rennebohm Park joins Brittingham, Elver and Warner parks with Madison’s fourth accessible playground officially opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at 11:00am. Join Madison Parks, the Madison Parks Foundation and City leaders, family and friends in celebrating the newest accessible playground at Rennebohm Park named for Jeff Erlanger.
Most anyone who met Jeff Erlanger will agree he was an amazing person who seemed to connect with everyone he encountered. Jeff met Fred Rogers, his childhood idol, when he was just 5 years old and in 1980, at the age 10, he appeared on the award-winning television series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Jeff went on to graduate from Memorial High School and Edgewood College and after graduation, he worked as an intern for the then U.S. House Representative Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Senator Russ Feingold. Jeff became very active in Madison politics and served as a member of the Economic Development Commission, chair of the Commission on People with Disabilities and chair of the Board of Directors of the Community Living Alliance. He also played a major role in gaining accessible taxicab service for Madison. Jeff died at just 36 years old in 2007. Upon his death, the Mayor and City Council created the annual Jeff Erlanger Civility in Public Discourse Award in honor of his commitment to community-building advocacy.
“Jeff’s legacy has been felt throughout the City for many years,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “This playground is another wonderful way for us to remember him, and more importantly, to keep working towards his vision of a Madison for everyone. I am grateful to not only the Madison Parks Foundation and its partners, but also to Jeff’s parents Howie and Pam who have continued to advocate in Jeff’s memory.”
Visitors to the new playground, located near the Rennebohm Park shelter, have several paved paths leading to the zero-entry play area. The fully ramp-connected main play structure features sign language, musical notes, and Braille communication boards, and lots of opportunities for climbing, balancing and sliding. The play area also features a zero-entry spinner, the “We-Go-Round,” offering seats and space for those in wheelchairs and other mobility devices to enter and participate without dismounting and can accommodate up to 12 kids at a time. Users spin from within using the center handhold or from the outside making for a collaborative side-by-side experience. The playground also offers a 3-bay swing with two adaptive seats in addition to the tot and belted seats. Also included is “the rocket,” a rope climber and a neighborhood favorite from the old playground.
To be announced on September 20 at the ribbon cutting ceremony:
The Madison Parks Foundation is pleased to announce that it has received gifts totaling more than $500,000, which will be gifted to the City of Madison Parks Division. This gift will fund the construction and provide maintenance for a Sprayground - a water play feature - at the Jeff Erlanger Accessible Playground at Rennebohm Park in 2024.
The Madison Parks Foundation is proud of its continued partnership with the City of Madison. This gift builds upon the Foundation’s Accessible and Inclusive Parks & Playgrounds initiative, which has provided funding to add 5 accessible playgrounds across the community that include the Frautschi Family Accessible Playground at Warner Park, Kyle & Jenni Foundation Playground at Brittingham Park, Elver Accessible Playground and the Jeff Erlanger Accessible Playground & Sprayground at Rennebohm Park, and in 2025 an accessible playground at Reindahl Park. These playgrounds offer more 100,000 Madison households access to a fully accessible playground within a two-mile radius of their home and offer children of all abilities the opportunity to play together.
Madison Parks Foundation’s vision is to make parks accessible and welcome for all to enjoy Madison’s 280+ public parks and greenspaces. Making our parks “accessible” means addressing physical, cognitive, and socioeconomic obstacles that keep people from reaching and enjoying our parks.
“It’s exciting and rewarding to know that more people will be welcome in our parks through our accessibility efforts. In the future, we will be focused on adding more accessible features and programs with continued community support.”, said Stephanie Franklin, Executive Director of the Madison Parks Foundation.
The Madison Parks Foundation continues its efforts in making positive impacts in our community and in our parks. Their vision is to make it easier than ever for all people to feel welcome in and enjoy Madison’s 280+ public parks and greenspaces. Making our parks “accessible” means addressing physical, cognitive, and socioeconomic obstacles that keep people from reaching and enjoying our parks.
Key donors to these accessible playground and parks projects include the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation, W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, Pleasant Rowland Foundation, Jenni & Kyle Foundation, Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation, Evjue Foundation, Madison Community Foundation, Festival Foods as well as many community members.
About the Madison Parks Foundation
Since 1894, Madison Parks have added richness and vibrancy to the landscape of Madison. As the non-profit partner of Madison Parks, the Madison Parks Foundation helps our community conserve, promote, and enhance our parks. We exist to support Madison’s world-class parks system. In addition to our work helping neighborhoods steward improvements to their parks, the Madison Parks Foundation has identified areas that advance our equity and programming goals for Madison's Parks.
To learn more and join the 3,600+ Foundation supporters, visit https://madisonparksfoundation.org/ or contact:
Stephanie Franklin, Executive Director
PO Box 259336
330 E. Lakeside Street
Madison, WI 53715