Maple Prairie Park Playground Improvements

Last Updated: 10/27/2023

The City of Madison is replacing the playground at Maple Prairie Park - work is nearly complete!

Parks Construction staff began the process by removing the existing playground equipment and stripping off reusable parts (such as swing seats, chains) before Contractor Madison Commercial Landscapes, Inc. arrived at the site to install construction fence, rock tracking pad and other erosion control measures before continuing with the removal of the old playground surfacing and excavating the new footprint "floor" of the playground and path connections.  Work resumed the week of 10/2 with the installation of the playground equipment and surfacing, which continued through the end of the month.  Rain events the week of 10/23 slowed work somewhat but the project is on-track to complete in early November.

Please note that while the playground project is underway, the area within the orange construction fence is "off limits" but other features within the park including walking paths, are open and available for use.

a photograph showing the playground equipment and surfacing at Maple Prairie Park on 10-27-2023
The playground equipment, surfacing and border timber / edge restraints installed at Maple Prairie Park 10-27-2023

Project update, including photos, will be added to this site as work progresses.

All questions and comments regarding this workshop should be directed to Kate Kane, Landscape Architect at or (608) 261-9671.

Thursday, January 12, 2023 at 6:00 pm -online via Zoom

*Note that these drawings are only intended to reflect the playground equipment designed by the manufacturer, and do not reflect the exact placement or site design.

Thursday, October 10, 2022 at 6:00 pm – online meeting via Zoom

Please note: this meeting was not recorded

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

Information on fundraising opportunities will be available at the meeting and also on-line at

For additional updates on park projects please visit:

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 approximately 7 per 10,000 residents. According to the Trust for Public Land’s (TPL) 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, 2019.