Vilas (Henry) Park Master Plan

Last Updated: 07/03/2020

Phase II of the Vilas Park Master Plan is drawing to a close!

Community Input Meeting #2; 6-22-2020

Community Input Meeting #2 was held online using Zoom Meetings and had over 170 attendees!  The purpose of the meeting was to introduce and discuss the three master plan concepts and to update attendees on the project timeframe and discuss the process for review and approvals that a draft final and eventually final master plan will follow. Additional materials from this session will be posted to this site as they become available.  Attendees as well as those unable to attend or who were unaware of the meeting are encouraged to review the concepts (available at the links below this section) and complete the concepts survey which will be available through July 12, 2020.

The City of Madison Parks Division is looking for your input on the future of Vilas Park. Three preliminary concepts have been developed to help illustrate possible improvements to the park. The goal of the Master Plan process is to have a final plan that shows the approximate size and location of park features. Specific details and final design solutions for park elements are not part of the Master Plan. Future implementation projects will also include public engagement efforts and require City approval prior to construction. The focus of the current Master Plan process is the selection and approximate location of those future improvements.

La División de Parques de la Ciudad de Madison quiere conocer su opinión sobre el futuro de Vilas Park. Se han desarrollado tres conceptos preliminares para ilustrar las posibles mejoras al parque. El objetivo del Plan maestro es tener un plan final que muestre el tamaño aproximado y la ubicación de las características del parque. Los detalles específicos y las soluciones de diseño final para los elementos del parque no forman parte del Plan maestro. Los proyectos de implementación futuros también incluirán iniciativas de participación pública y requerirán aprobación de la Ciudad antes de la construcción. El proceso del Plan maestro actual se centra en la selección y ubicación aproximada de las mejoras futuras.

Please take a few moments to complete the Vilas Park Concepts Survey
Por favor tome unos momentos para completar Encuesta de Conceptos de Vilas Park

Vilas Park Master Plan Concepts


Midvale - Lincoln Elementary Youth Engagement follow-up; 6-8-2020 to 6-15-2020

Students from Midvale-Lincoln Elementary School were asked to watch a short video and answer questions via online survey regarding their preferences for park amenities; MMSD faculty shared information in both Spanish and English with students from the schools, which are part of MMSD's Dual Language Instruction (DLI) program, as part of distance learning communications and over 70 students and families responded!

Board of Park Commissoners Project Update; 6-10-2020

Staff Meeting with Access for Independence; 5-22-2020

Regulatory Meeting with US Army Corp of Engineers

Staff Meeting with The Ho-Chunk Nation; 5-14-2020

Interagency Staff Meeting #4; 4-27-2020

Community Partners Advisory - Resident Resource Group Combined Meeting #3; 4-24-2020

Interagency Staff Meeting #3; 2-13-2020

Board of Park Commissioners Project Update; 2-12-2020

Community Partners Advisory Group Meeting #2; 2-11-2020

Resident Resource Group Meeting #2; 2-10-2020

Youth Workshop #1 at Boys and Girls Club Dane Co.; 2-6-2020

4-20-2020 PROJECT UPDATE: As with many aspects of everyday life, the Vilas Park Master Plan (particularly a series of meetings which were to have been held in March) experienced a set-back due to the rapidly evolving response to COVID-19; however, many aspects of the work continued "behind the scenes" during that time (most notably work on the master plan report document) and we are now up and running with continuing meetings via online sessions utilizing Zoom, Skype and WebEx to ensure that the project moves forward.  Our timeline, as depicted below, is still accurate per plans to complete the project in 2020.  Stay tuned for updates regarding the next Community Input Session - planned for late May or early June!

VPMP Project Schedule Phase II
Graphic showing the Vilas Park Master Plan Phase II project schedule


The Vilas Park Master Plan Survey Results are in! Thanks to all who submitted responses (496 were received!) before the survey close date of 1-31-2020.

​​​​​​The full report is available at the link, below:

The Greenbush and Vilas Neighborhood Associations held meetings with their membership on 1-27-2020 and 1-22-2020, respectively, to obtain additional input on the project from residents of those neighborhoods. Summary information and from the meetings as well as survey results that were developed by the GNA and VNA that were shared with Parks are included, below:

Phase I Project Materials: Site Analysis, Neighborhood & Community Engagement

Panoramic photograph from the 1915-1916 Annual Report of the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Assoication
Panoramic image from the 1915-1916 Annual Report of the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association

In addition to comments received via the Vilas Park Master Plan Survey, project email address and completed Comment Cards, Consultants MSA Professional Services, Inc. and subconsultant Urban Assets, LLC collected input during Phase I of the project via on-site intercept interviews with park users, meetings with City of Madison Planning, Engineering, Parks, Traffic Engineering and Metro staff; WiDNR staff; Army Corps of Engineers staff and engaging community members through Resident Resource Group, Community Partners Advisory Group and Focus Group sessions with Bayview Center and Badger Rock Community Center.  Meeting notes and materials from these sessions can be found, below.

Resident Resource Group Meeting #1; 11-6-2019

Meeting follow-up: As part of the Vilas Park master planning process, the Parks Department is seeking additional input from neighborhood associations and their residents.  Members of the Resident Resource Group were asked to share the following information with their respective neighborhood associations and to return responses to the consultant team by January 31, 2020.

Interagency Staff Meeting #2; 10-23-2019

Focus Group Session #2; Bayview Center Senior Bingo Luncheon 9-25-2019

Community Partners Advisory Group Meeting #1; 9-23-2019

Focus Group Session #1; Badger Rock Community Center 9-8-2019

Regulatory Meeting with US Army Corps of Engineers; 8-28-2019

Regulatory/State Agency Staff Meeting with WiDNR; 8-26-2019

Interagency Staff Meeting #1; 7-24-2019

Community Input Meeting #1; 6-26-2019

A Community Input Meeting was held at the start of the project to introduce the project team, timeframe, discuss goals and objectives and describe the process. Materials promoting that session are followed by the items that were presented, below.

Project Objective

Throughout the master plan process, which is expected to continue through fall 2020, Parks will be asking for input on questions such as, “What do you love most about Vilas Park?”, “What would you change?” and, “How can the park best serve our whole community as Madison grows?”

The Vilas Park Master Plan will be a framework plan that will help to inform improvements at the park over the next 15-20 years. It will be a starting point for the development of future capital improvement projects that could add to, replace or improve amenities at the park including sport courts, playgrounds, fields, lagoons, beaches, parking, roadways, pedestrian paths and more! The plan document, along with a master plan report, will go through several stages of design driven by community input that will be reviewed by other city and county agency staff, working groups comprised of neighborhood, community and environmental affiliates, and eventually go to the Board of Park Commissioners for approval prior to being implemented.


The City of Madison Parks Division issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) through Finance/Purchasing in September 2018 to select a consultant team to begin the Vilas (Henry) Park Master Planning process in early 2019.  Consistent with City of Madison Purchasing guidelines, the RFP was located on the Demandstar and VendorNet websites under the "Vilas Park Master Plan" title and was posted for 4 weeks, with proposals due on October 3, 2018.  Following the submission deadline, the proposals (a total of six were received) were reviewed and scored by an interagency staff team and four of the proposals were selected to move forward to in-person interviews.  MSA Professional Services, Inc., who assembled a team including Urban Assets, LLC and Quinn Evans Architects, received the highest score following the interview component and started on the project in late May 2019. 

The master planning process for James Madison Park was greatly informative to Parks and its result, as well as lessons learned throughout the consultant selection process, public input meetings, and schematic and final design development phases helped to inform the Vilas (Henry) Park master plan RFP.

Prior to issuing the RFP, Parks worked with other city staff and a small group of citizen stakeholders to utilize the Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative (RESJI) Tool to help to analyze and inform the public engagement process for the master plan efforts and to help to inform the selected consultant(s) with its findings.  The results of the tool will be reviewed with the consultant selected through the RFP process.