The Urban Design Committee approved the Lisa Link Peace Park Advisory Committee design plan for the renovation of Peace Park in a meeting Wednesday evening. The approval gave the Advisory Committee permission to continue working toward their goals. Ken Saiki, who spoke for the committee, relayed the goals the committee hopes to achieve by improving the city park.
The renovations will include a new welcome center, which will provide information for visitors about the events taking place each month. This addition will be located near the entrance of the park and will also be opened to increase the appeal the park has to the public.
“[The] plan really tries to take this space and open it up so that the park can be a physical environment for a number of things,” Saiki said.
The folk music concert, Folk at Four, and other events previously held at the park, will continue to be a part of what the park will offer. Saiki explained how the activities offered will determine the popularity of the park among the public.
“There’s got to be a level diligence to make sure that things happen there,” Saiki said.
Making sure a variety of events will be available to the public has been one of the primary goals the committee has been tackling. He explained how their fundamental principle is to involve everyone, since the purpose of the park is to engage people on a community level.
President of Downtown Madison Incorporated, Susan Schmitz, has been working with the Peace Park committee on the issue throughout the two-year effort. She explained over the years the park has not been kept up enough to draw in crowds. By renovating the space, she hopes they will get more people to use the park. She said in order for this to happen, the park has to be flexible enough for people to use throughout the entire day.
“[We want] a constant flow of people,” Schmitz said.
The committee hopes to achieve this by expanding the tiered amphitheater seating and movable furniture, as well as adding greenery for aesthetic appeal.
“We want to maintain as much green space as we can,” Saiki said.
One of the concerns the Urban Design Committee raised at the meeting was whether or not the renovations would get the reaction they need from the public.
“Any green space is about the users and uses,” Schmitz said. “The uses change over the years so we need a space flexible enough to change with it.”
The committee’s next step in the process involves estimating the costs of the expenditure, as well as the up-keep. Either way, the committee hopes Peace Park will remain a physical presence the community will continue to utilize.