Activate SJ

This ambitious strategic plan will ensure that over the next 20 years our neighborhood parks are a favorite and nearby destination, our regional parks represent the best of San José, our community centers are true hubs for community life, and that we continue to provide safer, cleaner neighborhoods.

Attached are links two documents that give more detail to what this strategic plan is about.

[ActivateSJ Benchmarks]

[ActivateSJ Document]

Proceeds Sale of Youth Soccer Complex

A letter to Mayor Liccardo and City Councilmembers to direct all $20M unrestricted proceeds from the sale of the Public Soccer Complex land at 1123 Coleman to PRNS capital projects, selecting from the $320M infrastructure backlog as well as rehabilitation of sports fields throughout the City.

[Click here for the entire letter]

Economic Benefit of Parks

When we visit our San Jose Parks, we often focus on the beauty or the fun that the parks provide. Yet, San Jose City Parks also provide extraordinary economic benefit. The Trust for Public Land has been analyzing the economic impact of parks for many cities across the contract, including Denver, Seattle, and San Francisco. Now they are studying San Jose. Later this year, we expect a report to be released with dollar figures.

Here are the preliminary results:

Parks contribute to City revenues through property taxes:

  • Increased annual San Jose property tax revenues/assessment attributed to proximity to a San Jose park.

Parks contribute to City revenues through property tourism:

  • Increased annual San Jose tax revenues from park-related tourism: Lake Cunningham skateboard park, Kelley Park and Happy Hollow Zoo, Christmas in the Park, Rosegarden, Renaissance Fair at Confluence Point, and many more.

Parks contribute to the wealth of San Jose residents:

  • Increased property sales value from property located within 500 feet of a park.
  • Profits to businesses from park-related tourism.

Parks save San Jose residents money:

  • Direct use value of park facilities, i.e. the amount residents would pay to use equivalent
  • private facilities
  • Health benefits from use of public parks.

The environmental benefits of parks save the City money:

  • Annual reduction in San Jose stormwater management costs each year resulting from parkland.
  • The role of parks in reducing San Jose air pollution cost each year.
  • Reducing cooling costs by absorbing urban heat.

The final report will compare San Jose with other major cities. How will we compare? We have fewer parks than most cities. Are we getting all the economic benefit that we should from our current city Park system?

SPUR sponsored a review of the San Francisco results in January 2015. The San Francisco report gives background on the analytic method and serves as a good preview for San Jose’s report. Check it out:

Street Parks:  Spaces Between Places

Ever experience the serendipity of discovering a tiny space in San Francisco--all covered with plants, or a bench and trees, or a small community garden?  These eye-catching beauties are "spaces between places" and are part of the Street Park program.  San Francisco's Public Works Department partners with San Francisco Park Alliance to help individual stewards to create these great little places.  Small pieces of public land--streets, medians, stairways, traffic circles, and bits of land are transformed and maintained by volunteer stewards.
Stewards use a template to work with the SF Parks Alliance and SF Public Works to create the public space that they wish to maintain. They hold a community meeting with nearby residents and collaborate with Public Works on their final plan.  Since 2004, over 100 street parks have been built or underway. Check out the video showing some transformed sites at
Find more information about the San Francisco process on the San Francisco Public Works Street Parks website
What San Francisco Street Parks have you found? Send pictures for our Facebook page and website at
San Jose has only a few neighborhood groups that care for a few circles and median strips for the Department of Transportation.  Do you think San Jose should work towards a better Street Park system?  Where would you put a San Jose street park?

Grants: How Local Groups Can Partner with PRNS

Many times Community Groups and residents find grants to support the Parks and Recreation Programs that they love. Yet, some experience the City’s process for approval as a “black box” that acts as a barrier. In June 1014, San Jose Parks Advocates sat with three PRNS officials and outlined the process for partnering with the city on grants and grants applications. Large projects (over $270,000) requiring Council approval were not the focus of discussion. Read how your group can successfully partner with PRNS. [Download Here]

Park Trust Fund

San Jose has a new proposal to divert $11M in Park Trust Fund fees to operations and maintenances of the three big downtown parks from long-planned land acquisitions, major improvements and necessary infrastructure renovations and repairs. With no public outreach, the proposal is scheduled for a December 2 hearing.  This diversion is on top of $20M in prior discounts, depriving the downtown area residents of more than $30 M in park improvements and major repairs. There's currently over $40M in backlog. Downtown area residents are expected to do without.

Read about the proposal and background in the staff memo here [Staff Memo]

Parks Commission's letter of opposition here [Parks Commission Letter]

Commentary column from Mercury News here [Don't divert money from Park Trust Fund]