Norman Clayton Park Playground Improvements

Last Updated: 11/23/2021

Work is underway to replace the playground equipment at Norman Clayton Park!

Contractor Madison Commercial Landscapes, Inc mobilized to the site the week of 9/20/2021 following the removal of the old playground equipment by Parks Construction staff and returned the week of 10/11 following work by City Engineering to replace the existing very poor condition stormwater pipe that bisects the site E-W.  Parks anticipates all work to be completed at the site on or before the end of November.

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

The first public meeting was a playground workshop held with four other neighborhoods on November 9th via Zoom. At this meeting City staff presented the Madison Parks playground input process, provided background on Madison’s playgrounds, and sought input from the neighborhood on individual park playgrounds.

The second public meeting was a playground meeting held on January 11, 2021 also via Zoom. At this meeting staff presented two playground designs prepared by the manufacturer selected during the workshop break-out session.

The new playground equipment will be installed in 2021.


 via ZOOM 11/9/2020 @6pm
Please note: this meeting was not recorded.


via Zoom 1/11/2021 @6pm

At this session, a brief review of decisions made during the workshop break-out session was held as well as an additional discussion regarding replacement playground surfacing. 
Attendees determined that wood mulch (EWF) surfacing will be used for the playground replacement. Please note: this meeting was not recorded.

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

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) 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.

Information on fundraising opportunities was made available at the meetings and can also be on-line at

For additional updates on park projects please visit: