Madison unveils $16.1 million 'Imagination Center' with library, pavilion at Reindahl Park

Imagination Park

GRAEF is providing civil engineering, structural engineering and MEP on the project.

After years of study and community outreach, Madison has released initial concepts for a modernistic, $16.1 million, 16,000-square-foot “Imagination Center” at Reindahl Park that will combine a library, park pavilion and city services at the Far East Side park.

The center will feature library collections, meeting and classroom spaces, an indoor pavilion and other amenities at the 91-acre park near the intersection of East Washington Avenue and Portage Road and would cost an estimated $1.72 million annually to operate.

“The building design is meant to provide general public spaces for a wide variety of public activities,” said Brent Pauba, project manager for the city’s Engineering Division. “These spaces can, and will, be catalyzed by community organizations, city initiatives and individual community members.”

The much-used park already offers soccer, softball and cricket fields, basketball and tennis courts, a splash park, community gardens and a dated shelter that will be demolished.

Building the facility in a park makes sense, officials said.

“This project is an opportunity to replace an aging park shelter through the efficiency of multiple city agencies coming together to meet the needs of many racially and economically diverse communities surrounding Reindahl,” assistant parks superintendent Christopher Peguero said. “The Imagination Center will bring a much-needed community space, and serve as a connection point for city services, while providing the many benefits of a library.”

Interviews with 435 residents and neighborhood groups identified five broad areas of interest: meeting rooms, event spaces, food preparation and programming, youth and teen spaces; polling/voter registration space and immigration and citizenship resources; health services, environmental education and gardens/outdoor spaces; arts programming, public art and culturally representative collections; and child care, literacy classes and financial education.

Dean Mosiman, Wisconsin State Journal