1978 was the first year of the Willy Street Fair, which was a fundraiser to buy the lot of the Willy Street Park. Organizers called it “hectic” and “an adventure.” In their writing, they championed the cause of neighborhood revitalization and wanted to protect and expand access to low-income housing.
In 1984, the Park Society wrote their Articles of Incorporation and declared in article 2 that “The period of existence shall be perpetual.”
Later that year, the City of Madison granted the newly created Park Society a conservation easement for the land. It was now protected to be used “exclusively for public open space purposes” and that “There shall be no commercial activity undertaken or allowed except for occasional festivals, fairs or similar events sponsored by neighborhood groups or public bodies.”