In an article about the new Central Park over at Madison.com , a Parks employee is quoted saying "We were able to acquire this property in downtown Madison...".
Later in the article, former mayor Sensenbrenner talks about enhancing the nearby neighborhood(s) and the name Central Park "emerging", though the article is light on how or from where the name came from.
Personally, when I think of "downtown" Madison, I think of an area from around Blair to the east to Park to the west. A phrase I've heard only recently, especially in press about the apartment building boom, is "Central city", which seems fair to define as far east as 1st St or the Yahara River and as far west as Midvale/Hilldale.
The design and use plans for Central Park seem like a great addition to both the surrounding neighborhoods and the city generally, but I am curious where the name "Central" Park came from. Similarly, whatever my opinion of where downtown is, it's interesting to hear a city employee describe Central Park as being in downtown Madison.
I've lived in Madison on (mostly) and off (less so) for the last 15 years. I'm curious how other people define downtown and "central city" and whether the city has an official opinion on the topic. As the boundaries of the city expand out, does the central city grow at a corresponding rate? Is Madison big enough to have a central city and a downtown that have overlapping-but-different boundaries?
This reminds me of a recent article about "up north". No one can say exactly where it begins, but it's always north of here. Where do you think downtown is?
 http://m.host.madison.com/ct/news/local ... fb0af.html