GORE_AUG'

The SoFA district in downtown San Jose is an eclectic collection of cafes, creative businesses, recreational businesses and arts organizations. It is home to some of San Jose’s most innovative events and festivals. The Gore Park project is creating an “outdoor living room” for the district and providing a flexible platform for activation.

Erika Justis, Director of Creative Place at 1stACT Silicon Valley, brings us this final blog:

JUSTIS: When we began the project, there was no way to predict the complexity that would follow. Though the space is small, it is city-owned property and thus subject to city bureaucracy regardless of the entity working within it. It is also located in the midst of a very diverse district with passionate stakeholders who have differing agendas and needs. Our original goal to close the street adjacent to the Park proved to be the most difficult. In the end, political pressure required a compromise that left the street open with one lane of traffic and one lane of parking. We are including street closure infrastructure to make it as easy as possible for the adjacent organizations and other event producers to close the street periodically for events.

The political and technical challenges delayed construction by three months. It is underway now and as the space begins to take shape, its potential as a vibrant public space is tangible. Plans are moving forward for a community planting day and the installation of public art.

Persistence has been key throughout the project’s implementation. Collaboration and support from stakeholders at all levels have been essential, whether it be an innovative design solution, a material donation or inter-departmental coordination. This is truly a community effort. The result will be a beautiful, flexible and accessible space for gathering, creating, celebrating, and making oneself at home in downtown San Jose.

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