RESJ Tool Used in Decision of Brittingham Park Playgrounds

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - 2:58pm

Through the Racial Equity and Social Justice (RESJ) Tool, a conscious decision has been made for the future of three playgrounds at Brittingham Park. Beginning in November 2014, Madison Parks hosted a series of three community meetings and a meeting planned by the RESJ analysis team and Parks staff, to gain input from residents on the future of Brittingham Park playgrounds. “The Department of Civil Rights and the Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative are proud of the work done to ensure the most equitable solution has been reached.  The efforts of the Parks Division as well as the affected communities demonstrate the positive impact of this process. The recommendations are a win for all parties involved,” agreed analysis team members Jason Glozier, the City’s Disability Rights and Service Program Coordinator and Toriana Pettaway, the City’s Equity Coordinator. "I am proud of the advocacy of neighborhood residents and the active listening and accountability that has been shown by city staff. This led to a solution that will serve our entire city well,” noted Alder Sara Eskrich, District 13.
In response to the residents and community groups, a Madison Parks planning team revised its playground plans for Brittingham Park. “Madison Parks strives to continue meeting the needs of our diverse community. By using the RESJ Tool, and engaging with the park’s neighbors, Madison Parks looks forward to continuing to improve Brittingham Park by installing two new playground structures and providing a nature based play space, ” remarked Parks Superintendent, Eric Knepp. 
In 2017, a fully-accessible playground will be installed near the park’s shelter. Barrier-free playgrounds create a variety of play options by removing the traditional environmental barriers and by providing ramps and opportunities for parallel play to occur. This model ensures that all children can have access to healthy play, education, and socialization. A second playground will replace the existing popular playground near the community gardens and a third playground, near Brittingham Beach will be the first nature-based playground offered at Madison Parks.  A nature-based playground connects children with the places they live through activities such as interactive art and tree planting drawing children’s natural curiosity to nature. Mayor Paul Soglin added, “The decision to install these playgrounds is the result of incredible collaboration between the City, the neighborhood and disability advocates.  I am really pleased that a consensus was reached and delighted that Madison will have its first handicap accessible playground.”