Parks Predictions for the Coming Months

We tend to live our lives according to the seasons, as defined by popular opinion and advertising. Though it is technically still summer, autumn is nearly upon us. As such, it is appropriate to look through the lens of our future periscope. I see a handful of issues and challenges that lie ahead for San Jose.

I do not know how everything will turn out, but I will take a shot at identifying what I feel are some of the more important parks and trails issues likely to be discussed and developed at some level in the coming months.

First: The restoration of some services, programs and maintenance by Parks Recreation and Neighborhood Services (PRNS), which have been cut over the previous several years. Without going into a detailed list, suffice to say that when funds were cut over several years, neighborhood parks were affected. It remains to be seen how much will be restored or when it might begin, but this is an important discussion that will involve neighborhood input throughout the city.

Second: St. James Park. This magnificent centrally located urban expanse of green space, dotted with historic statuary and designed to serve as a major public square for a variety of activities, has been dormant too long. A variety of local neighborhood and business groups, nonprofit organizations and service clubs are working together to transform this hidden jewel into a significant cultural and environmental asset. The hope is that it will not be one thing—such as concerts or capital improvements—but a number of different efforts, including prioritizing families’ use of the park.

Third: Further development of the trail network. The network of trails that includes the Highway 87 Trail, the Los Gatos Creek Trail, the Guadalupe Trail and the Coyote Creek Trail is very close to being linked together in a meaningful way that will make it not just a great place for hikers, cyclists and inline skaters, but will also make it a significant transportation corridor. The Guadalupe Trail has been paved all the way to Alviso, and it’s already being used by commuters.

Fourth: Parks and trails become a part of the mayoral and council races in 2014. One of the largest city departments has been cut severely and little has been said in the political forum about it. My experience working with neighborhoods suggests that people want to know what our leaders are going to do to preserve these beautiful community treasures. Will candidates advocate for more expansive and creative community partnerships? Do they see the value of being active advocates for parks, which are critical to our environment, health and local economy?

I am hopeful that all of these will become a part of our community discussion and action over the next several months.

James P. Reber is the executive director of San Jose Parks Foundation, a veteran nonprofit entrepreneur and experienced special event planner and producer. He can be reached at [email protected]  or 408.893.PARK.


  1. Unfortunately, all of the downtown parks are filled with homeless, drunkards, crackheads, and of course drug dealers!  Not exactly what I call family friendly.  It’s safer to try other cities parks and trails for sure!!!

  2. Im all for Parks and Trails , BUT I Believe that Public Safety is a much more important issue facing San Jose right now. You can have the nicest looking parks in the country , But if People dont feel safe . They simply wont go and enjoy our parks. This City simply doesnt have its Priorities . I mean anything that is not a pet project of Reed, Lickardo, Nguyen,Oliverio,Herrera , Constant simply isnt going to get done

  3. What are you people smoking? Have you been to the park lately? PRNS will solve everything? Ladoris wont even let the policemen be policemen… Its a free for all of drug dealers and homeless… Did any of you forget that a drug deal gone bad resulted in a murder there just over 2 weeks ago. Yes the guy was chased down from the park over to Tico’s Tacos before being executed at near point blank range. Ya I wanna take my family downtown. Maybe we can go for a nice walk down second street over to the urine stained fountain alley. Oh but wait there may be a street musician in front of Spaghetti factory over on the Tom McEnery campus (city dontation) …. This city is truly home of crazy people and not just the ones at the park but the ostrich voter/citizens that continue to be blinded by corrupt politicians…. Laughable

  4. Hey how about getting some “neighborhood volunteers” together to help clear out the bad element? Good luck! I wish I could find the memo that the “gang intervention experts” (“reformed” gang members) on Mayor Reed’s Gang Task Force wrote saying that the problem at St James Park was so bad that they DID NOT FEEL SAFE going there to do their job any more!

    Good luck with this one – I hope the people who you have conned into your personal wealth building scheme do not put themselves or their families into situations where they are harmed. In the event that they are I hope you are held accountable well beyond the protections afforded you by the legal status of your scheme!

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