San Jose’s long-awaited park renovation, expected to help economically revitalize the downtown, takes a major step forward

In downtown San José, California, St. James Park has long been in need of rehabilitation. A major step in that process in the environmental impact report (EIR), a draft of which is just been published.

The approximately 7.5-acre park is square shaped and bounded by East St. James Street to the north, East St. John Street to the south, North 1st Street to the west, and North 3rd Street to the east. North 2nd Street bisects the park.

On May 19, 2020, after extensive public engagement, the City of San Jose revealed their proposed rejuvenation of St. James Park.

The project includes both physical and programmatic changes to the park.

The project proposes to renovate and revitalize St. James Park by implementing both physical and programmatic changes.

The project would result in the demolition and removal of most of the existing improvements at the park, with the exception of the monuments and heritage trees.

The physical improvements proposed include:

  • Performing Arts Pavilion
  • Café and Restroom Building
  • Picnic Pavilion and Naglee Picnic Grove
  • Two Dog Parks
  • McKinley Meadow
  • Plaza
  • Playground
  • Fountain
  • Park Office Building
  • Security Lighting
  • Landscaping
  • Perimeter Garden Fencing
  • Transportation Network Modifications and Pedestrian Improvements including a Monument Walk
  • Utility Improvements

The project proposes to maintain the existing park use (passive park uses and events) and have additional programmatic elements, including events at the Performing Arts Pavilion. The Performing Arts Pavilion could accommodate a variety of events, such as film festivals, concerts, and dance and theatre performances.

It is assumed that 50 to 300 events (with up to 72 large concerts/events) would be held annually at the Performing Arts Pavilion, with larger events accommodating up to 5,000 attendees.

In addition, to help economically revitalize the overall downtown area, the project proposes to allow commercial uses including the proposed café, food, beverage, and merchandise vendors associated with events at the Performing Arts Pavilion, street performers, and a farmer’s market, which may require an event or development permit.

Images courtesy of City of San Jose.

See Draft EIR and documents referenced in the Draft EIR.

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