2018 – 2023 Park & Open Space Plan

Project Details

  • Status


Project Information

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.

Click this link for the 2018-2023 Park and Open Space Plan.

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 draft plan was presented to the Board of Park Commissioners on September 5th, where it was approved for referral to the Common Council for introduction on September 25th.  The plan was presented to the Board of Public Works on September 26th, the Plan Commission on October 1st, the Board of Park Commissioners on October 24th, which was recommended for final adoption at the October 30th Madison City Council Meeting.

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.

This plan is an update to the 2012- 2017 Park and Open Space Plan, adopted on May 15, 2012 by the City of Madison Council.

Over the past year, Madison Parks provided opportunities to voice your ideas and values for the future of the park and open space system including:

  • Community Theme - Focused Workshops - Click here for a summary of the community themed events and visioning sessions!

    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.

    Check out the video of Hip Hop Parkitechture in collaboration with Michael Ford!

  • Community Survey

    Online survey for residents to provide feedback on the Madison Parks system. Over 1,600 residents completed the survey.

  • Community Visioning Sessions - Click here for a summary of the community themed events and visioning sessions!

    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

    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.

  • System for Observing Play & Recreation in Communities (SOPARC)

    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. 

  • Recreation League Survey

    The City of Madison requested feedback from the organizations that reserve or heavily use Madison Parks Facilities.

  • Imagine Madison

    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.

  • Focus Group Discussions

    A collaborative project with the University of Wisconsin to identify park needs and concerns in specific communities. Focus group discussions occurred at Madison Senior Center, Vera Court Community Center, Capitol Center Apartments, Goodman Community Center, Meadowood Neighborhood Center and the Lussier Community Center.  Additionally, Public Health - Madison & Dane County conducted 15 one-to-one interviews and collaborated with Hawthorne Elementary School, Sandburg Elementary School, and Centro Hispano as part of the connecting children to nature initiative.

  • Neighborhood Resource Teams

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

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