San Jose park competition narrows to two finalists, renewing hope for a destination location


St. James Park in downtown San Jose moved closer to getting a facelift as four architecture firms pitched their designs at an October Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services meeting.

The designs all had a focus on preserving history while encouraging everyday use.

The 7.6-acre park, which separates downtown from residential housing, is an ideal location for a cultural hub, but few residents visit and there is a strong homeless presence.

According to a 2015 National Low Income Housing Coalition report, housing in San Jose is both difficult to find and more expensive than the national average.

Many residents encourage a full remodel to shift away from its present-day condition and think a new look can draw people, similarly to how Union Square attracts visitors to New York. Others prefer funds for policing the park and assisting the homeless.

The City of San Jose posted the two finalists’ designs online: !melk Fr-ee and CMG Landscape Architecture.