Is It True that the City of Madison Wants to Turn Three Springs Into a Community Center?
Who wants a better outdoor community pool? More walking trails? Cafes? New indoor and outdoor volleyball and basketball courts? Senior opportunities? General hangout spaces? Maybe a SPLASH PAD (gasp!)?
Good news! City of Madison officials are on the cusp of potentially bringing these things and more in the form of a brand new community center on Browns Ferry Road, but they need crucial information from YOU. Those who can make a difference and bring these things to life are listening.
An online survey was shared this week where community members are invited to anonymously give input regarding a new future community center. I took this survey a few days ago, and I timed myself for the sake of writing this post: It took me just over five minutes, and I took my time. It consists of 10 multiple-choice questions. That’s it!

Where would the community center be located?

This new community center’s proposed location is the former Three Springs, which housed and rehabbed “medium-risk” adolescent boys in foster care as well as kids who were convicted of juvenile crimes within the Department of Youth Services.

What happened to Three Springs?

The city revoked their business license in 2019 after they repeatedly failed to keep the facility secure under a resolution with specific conditions. City Council took measures to give officials at Three Springs multiple opportunities to maintain the business and work with the police department, but unfortauntely they were unable to do so. 

Multiple break outs from both sides of the aisle, both housed convicted criminals and those who were there for rehab, happened in the years leading up the closure. One incident in July 2017 resulted in a huge community outcry when two youth from the center escaped, traveled approximately one mile to Publix on County Line Road, and robbed and beat a man to death behind the store. The full story is available here via AL.com. 

Expected Completion & Expense

The community center would be completed in stages with a potential targeted opening date in one to two years depending on the scope of the project. 

The facility is 32,000 sq ft and would need a heavy renovation that may lie somewhere between $3-$4 million. The facility was built with security in mind, so in its current state, it’s not visitor-friendly for the public (think a winding entryway, thick walls, open restrooms, etc.) 

My Unsolicited Opinion

As a former active duty military family, we had the opportunity to live around the country. While Madison is truly a very special place to call home for a multitude of reasons (we’ll save that lengthy list for another day), there are a few things I’d love to see here possibly included within the community center that we loved from our time in other suburban communities. I’ve shared these sentiments with many of you, who seemed to agree.

  1. I’d love to see the city of Madison offer a partially-shaded splash pad for youngsters.
  2. I’d love to see at least one additional playground that was suitable for both toddlers and older elementary students that also was highly disability-friendly. Bonus points if there were metal picnic tables in the shade located around the perimeter. My sister lives in Wheaton, IL, where modern, sprawling playgrounds are on every corner. Her property taxes are nearly 10x what we pay here in Madison, so those playgrounds come at a steep cost. Still, I think it would be wonderful to see an updated, modern playground come to our community. 
  3. Finally, I’d love to see a city park where residents of all ages could jog, picnic, play tennis, have festivals, etc. I do think this may be somewhat what the city is trying to do with the Three Springs area. 

Some Options for the Community Center

Here are just a few ideas the city is considering including in the community center, with survey results largely influencing how they move forward.

  • Outdoor walking trails
  • Babysitting classes
  • Senior Programs
  • Day trip organizations
  • Bingo
  • Pool/Billiard Tables
  • Junior Ninja Courses
  • plus over 30 additional ideas for how to use the space




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