Warner Beach design contest

The Reimagining Warner Beach design contest is closed!

Congratulations to our top prize winners – read the press release.

About the contest

Clean Lakes Alliance, in partnership with Madison Community Foundation and City of Madison Parks, is launching a conceptual design contest to reimagine Warner Beach on Madison’s northeast side. There are 25 named beaches and access points on the five Yahara lakes, as well as dozens of street-end pocket parks. With this contest, Clean Lakes Alliance aims to foster a renewed investment and pride in ALL of our local beaches and lake access points.

The Reimagining Warner Beach design contest calls for participants to envision a future for Warner Beach in which the area is enhanced in terms of water quality, sustainability, community access and placemaking; promoting health, happiness and well-being. Our goal with this contest is to start a community conversation about how to create stronger connections to the lakes and to create grassroots action to advocate for cleaner and healthier beaches.

This contest is made possible by a Madison Community Foundation grant for their 75th Anniversary Year of Giving. Learn more about the Back to the Beach initiative.

Let us know you’re in!

Please submit your name and email below to show your interest in participating and receive the latest updates for the contest.

Contest overview

  • The contest’s driving design goals are water quality, sustainability, access and placemaking
  • The prizes are $10,000 for first place, $4,000 for second place, and $1,000 for third place
  • The final Warner Beach site tour and Q&A will take place on Saturday, September 16th at 10 a.m. (1101 Woodward Drive). See event on Facebook.
  • The submission deadline is Monday, January 15th, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. CST
  • Winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018 at Clean Lakes Alliance’s Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast
  • No formal education or design experience is required to participate!
  • Visit the contest Facebook event for updates and news; remember to sign up below for the latest updates.

Enter the contest

Frequently asked questions

Are we able to use images/photographs we find on the internet that may explain our ideas?

We require that your design doesn’t violate any copyright (in the “Ownership of Entry” section in the official rules, below). If your images don’t violate another entity’s copyright then they are acceptable to use. This webpage may be helpful in clarifying any potential breach in copyright.

“OWNERSHIP OF ENTRY: By submitting an entry, entrant represents and warrants that: (a) the submission is entrant’s original work; (b) entrant owns the copyright in the submission; (c) the submission does not violate, in whole or in part, any existing copyright, trademark, trade secret, proprietary rights or any other property rights of any other person, organization or entity; (d) any third-party content included in submission is not protected by copyright or entrant has a license to use the content for any purpose, specifically including the Contest; (e) entrant is not disclosing the confidential, trade secret or proprietary information of any person or entity; and (f) entrant has full power and all legal rights to register and make a submission.”

May I include smaller sketches to supplement my site plan in the 24” x 36” conceptual design layout?

Yes, the 24″ x 36″ space is for a “site plan and design feature details and elements.” Fill the layout with what you feel is important to describe your design.

What are the design area limits?

The design contest area is bordered by the train tracks running parallel to Woodward Drive to the Northeast, the park edge to the Northwest, Lake Mendota to the Southwest, and the Warner Park boat launch to the Southeast. The railroad tracks and boat launch are both outside the design area.

Will Geographic Information System (GIS) data be available?

GIS data and maps are available in the online resources folder. We recommend using the resources that you are comfortable with.

Am I allowed to propose design concepts in the Cottonwood tree grove area?

Yes, but you are asked to preserve the Cottonwood tree grove in your design.

Can I offer design concepts that fall outside the project limits?

Yes, but only the design concepts proposed within the project limits will be judged.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility refers to the ability for everyone, regardless of disability or special needs, to access, use and benefit from everything within their environment.

We addressed access in the design contest by establishing the following goal:

Greater Access. Accessibility is a key factor in building stronger connections between the 25 regional beaches and the Greater Madison community. Increased signage and access via multi-modal transportation (car, bus, bike and foot) are desirable for getting the public to the beaches. Designs should also prioritize safe and easy access to the shoreline, swimming and fishing areas. Access to in-park amenities and recreational opportunities shall be open to all users, improve racial and social equity and, whenever possible, meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Is there any desire to expand the beach? Or are there limitations?

It is up to the designer to define the limits of the beach, it can be smaller or larger. There are no limitations.

What is the minimum footprint for the beach house redesign?

It can be anywhere from 400 to 800 sq. ft. The Parks department has allocated funding to replace the beach house with similar designs at Esther Beach and Lake Edge. Parks staff is open to changing the proposed design based on submissions received through this design contest.

Is the Park Shelter example and prototype in the dropbox folder a new Madison standard that is expected to be continued?

The given park shelter designs are a new model City of Madison Parks is implementing in parks like Esther Beach and Lake Edge Park. The shelter in your design may take inspiration from this model or not.

Are there parking limitations for the project?

The existing parking facilities in the project bounds (a parking lot and street parking) can be used as a guideline for parking allocation. There is no formal limitation.

Does the railroad own the land in the corridor between Woodward Drive and the railroad tracks? Can it be considered in the design?

The railroad owns some of the land in the corridor. Design concepts that address the corridor can be considered, but are not required.

Does the contest design require inclusion of the water filtration system that is proposed to be installed at Warner Beach spring 2018?

The inclusion of the water filtration system is optional.

This technology is known as the “Clean Beach Corridor” walls off a corridor of filtered, clean lake water along a beach, blocking algae from blowing in from other parts of the lake. The sand filter draws water from the safe swimming corridor created by a “curtain” in the lake, filtering 80 gallons per minute. A water filtration system was launched a year ago by Dane County at Lake Mendota County Park in Middleton.

Is this project related to other plans (i.e. comprehensive plan, master plan, etc.)?

No. Clean Lakes Alliance, in partnership with Madison Community Foundation and City of Madison Parks, is launching the design contest to reimagine Warner Beach. The submissions can help inform future planning efforts at Warner Beach, and Greater Madison lakeside parks and beaches.

What specific source of funding will be used to implement the design?

A funding process for design implementation has not been established. However, the City of Madison has allocated funding to replace the beach house in the near future.

Does the contest require plans be drawn to scale?

No, this is not a requirement.

What is being done to manage the aquatic plant life along the shore?

Currently, lifeguards rake the plants and dispose in the nearby dumpster. The County also uses a cutter to minimize aquatic plant overgrowth in Lake Mendota.

Why was the buffer strip that surrounded the beach area removed?

Warner Beach is susceptible to considerable waves and variable currents. As a result, the buffer failed and it was removed.

How does the lagoon drain?

The primary mode of drainage for the Warner Lagoon is the channel that connects to Lake Mendota.

Do I need to preserve the stone (or riprap) along the shoreline?

No. However, shoreline protection and resiliency is something to consider for the sustainability of your design.

Is the beach crowded?

According to the community that frequents the beach, it is rarely crowded.

Are there any special events taking place in Warner Beach?

Most uses are unstructured and unpermitted, such as running, casual walkers, etc.

Lifeguard staffing? Open bathrooms? Funding for educational programs?

These items are programming elements that can be considered in your design.

Did we miss anything? Technical difficulties?

Please reach out with your question and we’ll see if we can help.

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