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Period Garden ParkWexford Playground 2

Period Garden Park was dedicated in 1977, but the park’s design seems much older, and blends beautifully with downtown Madison's most historic residential area, the Mansion Hill district. In the 70’s, concerned local citizens successfully fought off a development project that would have put a poured cement  apartment building on the site that once was the front lawn of the neighboring mansion. Much work was done in the beginning to carefully design the small park into a proper Victorian style, and is the city’s only example of a park from that era. The city parks department had it in their budget to plant and maintain the space, but over time, budget constraints did not allow for its upkeep. Many years of decline followed, and the park seemed a place to avoid.

About four years ago, Joseph Bonardi, a long time resident of the area, felt it was time for something to be done. After making some inquires, it was clear that only with fund raising and forming a volunteer effort that the park could be restored and improved. Through grants and donations, over $10,000 was raised and spent on the renovation.

Wexford PlaygroundWorking closely with Capitol Neighborhoods Inc., [Mansion Hill District], the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Madison Parks Foundation, many improvements were made and additional elements added, such as Victorian style cast iron urns and statuary. A full three-season garden plan was applied to the several flower beds, and a three tiered decorative water fountain was anchored in place. [Installing a circulating pump is a future project.] All the work has been done by a small group of volunteers, and all funding was by donation from local residents and area businesses. The park is now a joy to spend time in, and it is hoped that this can be an example of what anyone can do in their own neighborhood, if they are willing to make the effort.

Joseph Bonardi is willing to give advice to anyone wondering how to improve their public spaces. His contact information is located on the park website www.periodgardenpark.org.

The City of Madison Neighborhood Grant Program of the Department of Planning & Community & Economic Development helped to fund this project.

Carpenter-Ridgeway Neighborhood Park Labyrinth

Wexford Playground 2In 1997, residents of the Carpenter-Ridgeway Neighborhood began a journey to create a place where residents and visitors could come and relax and reenergize themselves. We started with the construction of Carpenter-Ridgeway Park, and slowly, through the years since then, added walking trails, cleared the banks of Starkweather Creek, constructed a prairie and rain garden, added play equipment and a baseball backstop, created a sculpture garden, and most recently, added the City’s only park Labyrinth.

The idea came from neighborhood residents who believed the park area had become a place to relax, enjoy nature, exercise, and meet other neighbors. Placing a Labyrinth in the park seemed like the perfect fit for an already peaceful place.

Wexford PlaygroundA City of Madison Planning Grant was written, along with a grant to the Madison Gas & Electric Foundation, as well as a neighborhood fundraiser. The Madison Parks Foundation, as well as local businesses became partners of the project. The Madison People for Parks Program allowed us to raise additional funds by matching some of our dollars. Initial estimates of the funds needed were $5,000, and included gravel walkways and a simple inner circle, but when residents generously donated to the project, plans were changed to include paved walkways and a granite inner circle.

The Carpenter-Ridgeway Park Labyrinth was started and completed within three weeks, and a celebration was held on Saturday, July 25th, 2009. Our goal was to add to a very special place within our neighborhood, a place for personal reflection and insight.

The City of Madison Neighborhood Grant Program of the Department of Planning & Community & Economic Development helped to fund this project.

Randy Glysch, President


Wexford Playground

Wexford PlaygroundThe effort to make playground improvements at Wexford Park began when several moms with young children were discussing the shortfalls of the playground and realized all shared our concerns. We banded together, enrolled the project with the Madison Parks Foundation and drew on our collective talents in playground design, horticulture and grant writing and sought the help of the Madison Parks Division.

As the project was large for a grass roots neighborhood effort, we decided to make it a two year commitment. This allowed time to raise the $30,000 needed and to set realistic goals. Matching grants from the Parks Division made the project achievable.

Wexford Playground 2Since making the improvements, we see many more families are using the playground area. The greatest benefit of this is bringing parents and children together more often and strengthening the social bonds of our neighborhood.

A great example is how the children love the merry-go-round. This is an outlet for energy and a gathering place for many children of all ages to make new friendships. Another benefit was to make the play structure safer, which we feel we have achieved by adding an additional platform and exit ladder.

What moved us from idea, to plan of action, was our enthusiasm for our neighborhood and the love of our children.

Sue Hunt
Jeanne Duffy
Jen Giesler
Chris Gomez Schmidt
Sarah Underwood


Rennebohm Park

Wexford Playground 2In 2004, Rennebohm Park, just west of Hilldale Mall, was in dire need of updated playground equipment. A major boost to getting new equipment occurred when a nearby real estate development contributed seed money for the park improvements.

The Hill Farms Neighborhood Association formed a committee to assess what equipment was desired, and then a fundraising goal of approximately $7,000 was set. A fundraising committee was formed of neighborhood volunteers, and we quickly got to work as we had less than two months to raise the money to meet our goal of installing the equipment in 2005.

The fundraising committee canvassed the neighborhood’s residents, apartment building owners and local businesses with a letter asking for contributions. We also wrote letters to several charitable foundations. Surrounding residents (many of whom no longer have young children), foundations, and business people came to the call quickly and generously, and we met our fundraising goal in less than one month.

Wexford PlaygroundThe Madison Parks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization and source of tax-deductible contribution documentation, was incredibly helpful to the fundraising effort. In addition, the Madison Parks Division staff was wonderfully supportive and informative in guiding us!

Since the playground equipment was installed, the number of families at the park has increased dramatically and kids play for hours rather than minutes. Kids love the stepping pods, climbing wall and the improved monkey bars. The webbed dome climber is great in bringing together kids of all ages.

What moved us was a sense of community and the fact that this park serves a diverse population. We wanted all kids in this area to have a great place to play, and now they do.

Jerome Buhman
Ingrid Kallick
Jennifer Mirus
Jodi Streicher-Bremer



                                                       Madison Parks Foundation,   P.O. Box 2987,   Madison, WI 53701-2987,   (608) 266-4339       Contact Us
Madison Parks Foundation