Designed by and for the Community: Stone Horse Green in Middleton

Strollin Jazz Fest

Over the past decade, the City of Middleton has experienced rapid growth in both size and diversity. With this growth came the opening of more local businesses and restaurants, creating a bustling downtown. Yet for a city that prides itself on their social infrastructure, Middleton lacked a central gathering place for residents and visitors. The City decided to work with residents to identify a solution that would meet the needs of the growing community.

The process began with a plywood sign in an unused lot asking Middleton residents, “What do you want to see here?” Through this survey, the city recognized the strong desire for a green space, a public plaza and a community center in the downtown. Working with residents every step of the way through continued outreach and workshops, the City began to design the Stone Horse Green.

The community input led to a nest-like design that draws people to the plaza, complete with open green space, band shell, sitting area, fire pits and public art installation, at the center of downtown Middleton. The plaza was intentionally designed to promote inclusivity and community building by supporting physical activity and stress alleviation and stimulating social interaction.

Family enjoys Stone Horse Green

But building the plaza was only the first step. The City also had to plan programs that would appeal to a wide range of audiences and draw them to the space.

To help develop the programming that would achieve the goals for the space, MCF granted the City of Middleton $15,000 seed money. Stone Horse Green opened to the public in October of 2022 with the Strollin’ Middleton Jazz Fest. The two-day festival brought hundreds of people to the plaza and featured multiple local musicians and artists, including Black Power Dance, Daren Sterud, and Chicago-based Dee Alexander.

Since then, dozens of events have followed, thanks to partnerships with area nonprofits and local business and restaurants. The City also hosted Fall Fun movies, featuring Coco, and a Summer Fun Concert Series, featuring Orquesta SalSoul del Mad with salsa dancing in the street.

When planning events, the City also wants to ensure people of all ages can enjoy them. Suessa-Palooza, a celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, was wildly popular with local families. The event boasted storytelling, games on the green and performances by performers from Madison Circus Space. To get older generations involved, the City worked closely with the Middleton Senior Center when planning their Wellness Week and Make Music Middleton Day. Trivia nights and tai chi and yoga classes at the Stone Horse Green have drawn multi-generational crowds.

The City’s Director of Planning & Community Development, Abby Attoun, said the “the greatest impact of the plaza has been providing our community with a central gathering space for all ages that is always here, always free and always open to the public.” The City is excited to roll into the next year of programming with the second Strollin’ Middleton Jazz Fest this September. You can find the full schedule of events at

Friends at Stone Horse Green

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