Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Enhancements Coming to St. James Park!!

Construction Happening In St. James Park

St. James Park, one of the many famous parks in Downtown San Jose, is marked by historic buildings that surround it in every direction.  In the past few weeks, there has been some changes to the park.  The old buildings that sat in the Eastern portion of it are no longer there.  Phase I of the Park’s newMaster Plan has commenced.
The buildings were once home for Senior Citizen activities.  Those activities have since been relocated to the Roosevelt Community Center which allowed for San Jose Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services to step in and begin construction of the Master Plan.
st james park san jose
The St. James Park Master Plan was originally adopted in 2002 but couldn’t start due to funding limitations.  The entire park is intended to be remodeled but now, it will be remodeled in phases.
The first Phase is to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with turf.  The project was originally budgeted at $700,000 but since was scaled back to approximately $300,000.
What changed?

Well, as we’re all heard, the San Jose Redevelopment Agency is scraping for money (once a financial contributor to the project) and the City of San Jose is in the midst of a financial crisis (another contributor to the project).  St. James Park is affected as a result.  But really, there’s not much to complain.  The construction project will absolutely improve the park.

  st james park san jose 
st james park

In an interview with Matt Cano from the San Jose Park Service he said, “I’m looking forward to more open space and better views.”  By eliminating the old buildings, the park will achieve this and more.  By the end of March the project will be completed.

When construction of future phases of the park’s Master Plan is still undetermined.  It all boils down to funding and where these funds come from is an unknown.

Cano commented about the possibility of getting grant funding but it’s stuff competition from not only other parks in the region but locally as well.  Another funding possibility is from park fees generated from new Downtown San Jose housing developments.  There are many planned or entitled residential units, all of which will be subject to parks fees, but again, this is uncertain for reasons we can all image.

For the time bring though, the San Jose construction in St. James Park is a nice change and one that can be appreciated by all.  Check it out next time you’re driving by on North 3rd street. 


  1. More green space for what? All the creepy folks hanging out across a larger area?

    Do you know why those buildings were torn down? They seemed old and unmaintained, but still salvageable and able to be re-purposed as cafes or other small businesses.

    I live two blocks from there and can't really see a reason to visit the park, which is sad. If there were more residential units right on the park perimeter, there'd be more support from neighbors and friends. As it is, it's just a big dead zone.

  2. I'm glad they tore that building down, but would definitely like to see some sort of kiosks there. As soon as the first residential high-rise goes up, I'm sure they will clean up the park. It's a shame the stat it is in right now, especially given all of the history in that area.

  3. I've always assumed they were thinning it out so that the police could monitor it better, since it's been a place for homeless to gather for the last couple decades. One thing is for sure, the police sure love driving across it.

    But I'm glad to see the buildings go. It's time for this park to evolve. In the early 1900s it was a beautiful lush park, originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, maybe the most famous American landscape architect. He was directly involved with the creation of Central Park in NYC. Look him up. I wish they would take advantage of this history in their restoration. Maybe they are, but I doubt it. So much of San Jose's architectural history has been razed, trampled, and forgotten. The 50s - 80s were a destructive period down here. We should remind people of our history and celebrate what little we still have.

  4. I was happy to see the renovation program underway!

    I would also love to see the fountains recovered and, frankly, to use the park, which as we all know, is currently a homeless/indigent shelter.

    What a shame to not enjoy that public space. RG

  5. No one lives there. What high-rises?

  6. There are 2 highrises being planned for the area.

  7. what about a community garden? my district has a huge wait list of people that are eager to pay monthly fees for a community garden plot. last time I checked the number was greater than 100!