Sheridan Triangle Park Playground Replacement

Last Updated: 07/09/2020

Work by City of Madison Parks Construction staff has begun at Sheridan Triangle Park!

Demolition of the existing playground equipment, peagravel surfacing, basketball goal and pavement by Parks Construction staff will begin the week of July 6,2020, Parks Construction staff are also installing the majority of the new features at the park.  Installation of asphalt pavement at the path and fencing on the Porter Ave side will be under the '2020 Playgrounds - Group 2' contract, which has been awarded to Madison Commercial Landscapes, Inc.


The City of Madison Parks Division held two meetings to discuss proposed improvements at Sheridan Triangle Park.

The first public meeting was a playground workshop held with three other neighborhoods on October 29, 2019 at Lakeview Library. 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 7, 2020 at Sherman Middle School at 1610 Ruskin St.  At this meeting, as at the workshop session prior, both Brentwood Park and Sheridan Triangle Park were discussed with a robust turn-out each time.  Sheridan Triangle Park, due to its extremely small size (at 0.15 acre), close proximity on all sides to vehicle traffic (well under 30 ft on most sides) and its walking-distance proximity to Brentwood Park, was proposed for a playground alternative - possibly to include nature play and/or outdoor gathering space amenities.

At the meeting, attendees were generally in favor of offering nature play amenities at the park but were less interested in offering neighborhood gathering or backyard opportunities outside of backed seating.  Attendees were strongly supportive of some type of conventional playground equipment to be retained at the park - discussion of the requirements to retain and re-use the existing T-swing and tire swing at the park (which would entail removing and re-setting both elements to bring fall heights into compliance with the new safety surfacing and would replace either the tot seat with a belt seat or the belt seat with a tot seat (mix and matching seat age ranges is not a compliant condition) on the T swing was held.  Final discussion centered on the inclusion of a new playground equipment piece over the retention of the existing tire swing and T swing - with a 2-bay swing having the majority of support.  As such, a third concept was requested that would incorporate a 2-bay swing along with nature play elements in the form of boulders and tree climbing element.  That concept is is presented, below, as Option 3 along with the original concepts (Option 1 and Option 2) shown at the session.  Parks requested that feedback on the options be received on or before 1/24/2020 in order to keep the project on schedule for bidding and construction in 2020. 
UPDATE:  Option #3, as shown below and modified to include a small section of fence along Porter Ave, was the option receiving the most votes from the neighborhood!

The contract to install the asphalt path and fencing at Sheridan Triangle Park has been awarded to low-bidder Madison Commercial Landscapes, Inc.; work is anticipated to begin on the contract, which includes 3 other Northside park locations, in mid-July. 
 Any questions about the project can be directed to Project Manager Kate Kate at or (608) 261-9671.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 6:00 pm, Sherman Middle School - library media center (1610 Ruskin St)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 6:00 pm, Lakeview Library (2845 N Sherman Ave)

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.

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

Information on fundraising opportunities is available online: Parks Fundraising Opportunities.

View additional updates on park projects.