Warner Park Playground Improvements

Last Updated: 06/09/2023

Project Update 6/9/2023

Subcontractor Bluemels Landscaping is anticipated to be on-site to install the poured-in-place playground surfacing on Friday (6/9).
Following the installation of the poured-in-place playground surfacing, site restoration (seeding & matting of the topsoil areas surrounding the concrete edge at the playground) will allow the contractor to remove the construction fence so that the playground can be opened - all work is anticipated to be completed by June 30, 2023!

a picture showing the We Go Swing frame and base installed at Warner Park on 6-8-2023
The installation of the We-Go-Swing accessible swing base and frame was completed 6-9-2023


Work at the site began in August 2022 and wrapped for the season in late November.  Since the playground safety surfacing was not able to be installed at the conclusion of work in 2022, the site was secured over the winter with chain link panels in addition to the orange construction fence.  Work is anticipated to resume in May 2023, with the addition of the accessible swing and poured-in-place safety surfacing.  Following restoration of the site including finish grading, seeding and matting, and the removal of the orange construction fence, the playground will be open and ready for play!


The City of Madison Parks Division held two meetings to discuss the playground improvements at Warner Park.

The first public meeting was a playground workshop held with the Rennebohm Park neighborhood on November 4, 2021 online via Zoom. At this meeting, City staff presented the Madison Parks playground input process, provided background on Madison’s playgrounds, and sought input from each neighborhood on individual park playgrounds during a break-out session.The second public meeting was held on December 16, 2021 also online via Zoom. At this meeting staff presented two playground designs from the preferred manufacturer selected during the workshop session.  The new playground equipment is anticipated to be installed in 2022.

Thursday, November 4, 2021 at 6:00 pm – ONLINE via ZOOM


All questions and comments regarding this workshop should be directed to Kate Kane, Project Manager at kkane@cityofmadison.com or (608) 261-9671.

Information on fundraising opportunities will be available at the meeting and also on-line at https://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/about/documents/ParksFundraising.pdf

For additional updates on park projects please visit: https://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/projects

Background on Madison Playgrounds

The City of Madison currently owns and maintains approximately 180 playgrounds across the park system. This does not include most school playgrounds, which are owned and maintained by MMSD. The 180 playgrounds equates to 7 per 10,000 residents. According to the Trust for Public Land’s (TPL) "Park Score" annual rating of the 100 largest municipal parks systems in the nation, this puts Madison at #1 and by a fairly sizable margin. As a comparison, Cincinnati has approximately 5 playgrounds per 10K residents, and is currently 2nd in the annual ranking in this category. This places Madison at approximately 40% more playgrounds per capita than other leading communities. Of cities reported by the TPL that have the highest playgrounds per capita, the per capita ratio is between 2.4 and 4.7 playgrounds per 10,000 residents. There are only two municipalities with amounts higher, Madison at 7.1 and Cincinnati at 5.0 playgrounds per capital. Madison Parks is certainly proud of this ranking, but such a sizable system of playgrounds does mean there are significant costs to develop and maintain the system in a safe and accessible manner.

In the 1990’s there was a significant reinvestment in playgrounds to move away from wood structures, which were inaccessible, towards equipment that was safer and met ADA guidelines. At this time, the primary surfacing selected for installation was crumb rubber and/or pea gravel. By 2012, there was a significant need to reinvest in our playgrounds again as many were reaching the end of their useful life at similar times. This led to the Parks Division working collaboratively with Alders, the Mayor, and the Board of Park Commissioners to establish a programmatic approach to the replacement of over 120 of the playgrounds over the next decade beginning in 2013. The Council adopted RES-13-00034, Legistar 27854, in January 2013. This called on the Parks Division to develop a replacement program that prioritized playgrounds based on safety, age and condition in a fair and equitable manner. The program was to include a standard playground equipment package, prioritized yearly capital budget plan for the replacements and equitable guidelines that would allow for neighborhoods to contribute financially to the project.

Additional history and information on the playground process can be found in this letter from Parks Superintendent Eric Knepp to All Alders on July 28, 2020.