75th Anniversary Grant #2: Back to the Beach with Clean Lakes Alliance

The Back to the Beach grant launched the 1st annual sandcastle building contest at Olbrich Park, where hundreds of children and families enjoyed a beautiful summer day.

Back to the Beach launched new projects at Clean Lakes Alliance aimed at sparking community interest and input on lakeside parks and beach conditions.  

Supported by a $75,000 grant, Back to the Beach not only catalogs the needs of all 25 Madison-area beaches, it also includes a beach redesign contest, Reimagining Warner Beach, and a sandcastle-building contest to bring families back to the beach. 

“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 know residents deserve and demand better lake parks and beaches and this grant gives us the jumpstart we need to move forward.” 

“The history, importance, and potential of Warner Park Beach to Madison’s Northeast side is 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 the Monona Terrace and Overture Center, we hope the winning design for Warner Park Beach will add another great public asset to our community.”

Learn more about the Back to the Beach projects:

Reimagining Warner Beach

The Reimagining Warner Beach contest invited anyone to envision improvements that enhance the area in terms of water quality, sustainability, community access, and place making; promoting health, happiness and well-being. Submissions were accepted through January 15 at cleanlakesalliance.org/beaches. A panel of judges from a cross-section of the community selected the winners, announced on May 2, 2018, at the Save Our Lakes breakfast. Read more about the winners and view the winning designs. 

Back to the Beach's design contest focuses on Warner Park Beach because of its large, diverse population base, and its history of once being a favorite beach of Madisonians. Currently, the beach is underutilized and lacking amenities. Other parts of the project include: 

State of the Beaches Report

A review of 25 Madison-area beaches to inventory features like shoreline, vegetation, accessibility, stormwater management and water quality, and amenities. The goal will be a State of the Beaches report, assessing the overall health and conditions of our beaches.

Building at the Beach

MCF's support launched the now-annual sandcastle building contest during Clean Lakes Alliance's Loop the Lake family bike ride at Olbrich Park. Watch the WKOW news story on the June 2018 event: "Bikers battle heat in Madison's Loop the Lake ride"

Student Art Design Contest

The “My Favorite Lake” art design contest was open to first through eighth grade students in Madison and the surrounding communities. Clean Lakes Alliance received 53 submissions from talented young artists. The winners were announced in October and are shown here. All of the posters were on display at the Madison Children's Museum Art Gallery.  

By Elia Kitina – 2nd grade from Shorewood Hills Elementary

By Zuri Taylor – 3rd grade from Marquette Elementary

By Thavida Johnston – 8th Grade from Akira Toki Middle School

About Clean Lakes Alliance

Clean Lakes Alliance is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the improvement and protection of the lakes, streams and wetlands in the Yahara watershed. Through community support, advocacy and education, we are working to restore and protect our lakes for future generations.

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