Design contest invites Northside residents to reimagine Warner Beach


By Issis Macias
Clean Lakes Alliance

The Clean Lakes Alliance, in partnership with the Madison Community Foundation and Madison Parks Department, has launched Back to the Beach, an initiative to foster increased attention and care for Greater Madison’s public beaches. Back to the Beach is funded through a grant from the Madison Community Foundation as it celebrates its 75th Anniversary Year of Giving with 12 $75,000 grants.

The beach initiative includes a conceptual design contest “Reimagining Warner Beach.” The contest will encourage participants to envision Warner Beach based on the design goals of improved water quality, sustainability, public access and place making.

“We have the best farmers market, we have a world-class university, we’re one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country, but our beaches fall far behind the rest of Madison’s gems,” said Clean Lakes Alliance Executive Director James Tye. “We’re calling all dreamers and thinkers to reimagine the beach to make it someplace special.”

This first-of-its-kind design contest is open to everyone, including individuals or teams. The top design will be awarded $10,000, second place $4,000, and third place $1,000. The winners will be announced in May 2018.

“The history, importance and potential of Warner Beach to Madison’s Northeast side are why we wanted to invest in the Back to the Beach program,” said Madison Community Foundation President Bob Sorge. “With our history of investing in successful projects like Monona Terrace and Overture Center, we hope the winning design for Warner Beach will add another great public asset to our community.”

Designers looking for additional information can participate in a question and answer session with Clean Lakes Alliance staff at Warner Beach Saturday, Aug. 5, at 10 am.

Successful designs might include native plants, rain gardens, renewable energy, reused materials and improved beach amenities. Participants will submit a narrative, site plan and visual representations of the beach design and top plans will be presented for community input. No prior experience in design is required.

Visit to download an application and register to participate.