Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office


February 28, 2018
Sharon Corrigan, County Board Chair 608.333.2285
County Board

Public “open house” set for 6 p.m. Thursday prior to County Board meeting


Residents interested in the outdoors are invited to offer feedback Thursday evening on the final draft of Dane County’s new five-year Parks and Open Space Plan.


A public Informational session is set for 6 p.m. Thursday on the 2nd floor of the City-County Building prior to the regular meeting of the full Dane County Board.

Parks staff along with members of the county Parks Commission will be available to answers questions and discuss any aspect of the plan. Maps and other visuals will be available for review in the hallway outside Room 201 of the CCB.


A major thrust of the 2018-2023 Parks and Open Space Plan is trying to provide a variety of opportunities for people from all walks of life to enjoy the natural beauty of Dane County.


“Inclusion and accessibility remain a priority for Dane County, so as we continue to invest in park development we need to think about places that are for everybody,” says Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan of Middleton.


A map of the proposed plan showing connections via roads, trails or public transportation routes is available at 2018-2023_1.pdf


The plan sets priorities for the county regarding funding for recreation or trails, along with preservation of key environmental or natural heritage sites. It is not binding but is required for the county to receive grant support from the state Stewardship Fund.


“A major new component of the 2018-23 Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan is identifying barriers that may be limiting the ability of some people to visit our parks,” says Darren Marsh, Dane County Parks Director. “Language, financial need, awareness of the parks,  and transportation are all potential limitations that we will be working on strategies to overcome throughout the next five years.”


County Board Supervisor Dave Ripp of Waunakee, who also serves on the Parks Commission, says much progress has been made but more can always be done.


“The next five-year Parks Plan continues the great projects Dane County has already begun but puts greater emphasis on trails connecting parks and communities,” he says. “With almost all county parkland located in the rural parts of the County, this plan will make access to them easier and less expensive.”


Work on the new plan began last year with meetings among a broad range of stakeholders including local governments, outdoors user groups and nonprofit organizations. A public survey also showed support for better trail connections, more dog parks and improved restrooms/shelters.


Parks staff used that input to draft the plan, which will go to the full County Board in the coming weeks for final approval.


Meanwhile, the Dane County Board at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday will consider two contracts related to a future redevelopment of the Alliant Energy Center (AEC).


One extends an existing agreement with the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) to provide convention sales manager services at the AEC for another three years, with options for two additional one-year extensions.


The AEC relies heavily on the GMCVB and its Madison Area Sports Commission to secure business and insure the financial success of the venue. Over the past five years the two entities have developed a very successful partnership by having full-time GMCVB sales positions dedicated to marketing the AEC, resulting in over $1.3 million worth of rental business in a single year. 


“Having a sales manager onsite and dedicated to generating business for AEC has made a world of difference. In 5 years, we have been able to generate over $4 million in  revenue and attract new events such as Wizard Con, CrossFit Games and several prominent agribusiness events to the campus. We are thrilled with this collaboration and look forward to it continuing”, stated Deb Archer, President of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau and Madison Area Sports Commission.


The other contract is an agreement to continue working with Vandewalle & Associates throughout the master planning phase of the redevelopment of the 164-acre Alliant Energy Center campus. A national firm, Perkins Will, was recently selected to draft a master plan for the county-owned facility.


Vandewalle will facilitate the public outreach portion of the planning phase along with helping guide the AEC Comprehensive Master Plan Oversight Committee in its duties. It will also help design a road map for execution of the master plan results when they are completed over the next year.