Historic San Jose project could move to new downtown site

It could be “Goodbye, Arena Green” and “Hello, Plaza de Cesar Chavez” for the planned Urban Confluence Silicon Valley landmark in downtown San Jose.

Steve Borkenhagen, executive director of the nonprofit organization that is working to create the structure, told a San Jose City Council committee this week that the group had begun studying Plaza de Cesar Chavez as an alternative location. for “Breeze of Innovation”, the design that won an international ideas competition last year. Borkenhagen said the unfinished design could be reconfigured to fit the new location.

Plaza de Cesar Chavez — home to some beloved San Jose events like Christmas in the Park and San Jose Jazz Summer Fest — was the site the organization originally envisioned for the project before an initial site survey was conducted. recommends Arena Green, a section of Guadalupe River Park near the SAP Center.

This study “may have underestimated Arena Green’s disadvantages or challenges, particularly with respect to the river, creek and riparian corridor,” Borkenhagen said at the neighborhood services committee meeting. and Education Thursday. “We’re not dropping Arena Green, but just stopping to do that additional study.”

Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society, objected to the placement of the 200-foot-tall project, made up of 500 dynamic rods that would be illuminated at night, so close to the Guadalupe River and Los Gatos Creek, where it might disturb the birds. and other wildlife and add unnatural light to the waterfront corridor. Borkenhagen said most of the other venues initially considered would have the same issues, with the exception of Plaza de Cesar Chavez and St. James’s Park (which already has a redesign underway that would need to be restarted to incorporate “Breeze of Innovation “. )

But some city council members at the virtual meeting also pushed back on the idea that Plaza de Cesar Chavez was the right location for the project, fearing it would overwhelm the park, restrict other activities and diminish attention. of the park on Chavez, the legendary labor leader who lived in San Jose and for whom the park was renamed in 1993. Borkenhagen countered that Urban Confluence had no intention of taking anything away from Chavez, that he called “one of the most important leaders of the civil rights movement of the last 100 years.”

“We believe that the combination of ‘Breeze’ and various elements yet to be designed in honor of Cesar Chavez could make this park – which we currently believe to be a mediocre urban park – something truly spectacular,” he said. -he declares.

Urban Confluence plans to return to the committee with an update in September, and any site changes would need to be approved by city council. You can find out more about the project at www.urbanconfluencesiliconvalley.org.

ALWAYS ON: YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley is bringing back its annual Sexual Assault Awareness Walk to Santana Row on June 23 after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the event from happening in person for the past two years. He also has a new name, “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” which the YWCA says demonstrates his commitment to all people of all genders.

The march starts at 5:30 p.m., and if you’ve seen it before, you know it’s a light-hearted approach to a serious subject, with teams of supportive men, women, and non-binary participants who stroll through the open-air shops of San Jose. center in high heels. A change from previous years is that the YWCA will not provide high heels for walkers, so bring your own heels – or whatever shoes you want. You can also skip the crowds at The Row and take the walk to your own location.

Either way, you can start a fundraising team or sign up as an individual for $68 — based on one sexual assault happening every 68 seconds — at bit.ly/WALKINTHEIRSHOES22.

DANCE ALL WEEK: One of the works that will have its world premiere on June 17 and 18 at sjDANCEco’s “Encores and Celebration” is “The Mitten,” which is based on a Ukrainian folk take that was set to music by the San Jose-based composer. Mona Reese. The Hammer Theater Center program, presented in collaboration with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, includes new works by Fred Mathews, Maria Basile, Hsiang Hsiu Lin and Gary Masters. Both performances begin at 8 p.m. and tickets are available at www.sjdanceco.org.

And if you want to warm up with a little dancing, CityDance San Jose returns June 16 to the Circle of Palms outside the San Jose Museum of Art. The monthly series – which includes an hour of dance lessons – kicks off with salsa this week, followed by Bollywood (July 21), cumbia (August 18) and K-pop (September 15). Things get moving at 6 p.m. and continue until 9 p.m. Dancing is free, as is admission to the San Jose Museum of Art during CityDance nights. You can view current museum offerings at www.sjmusart.org.

LET THE MUSIC PLAY: It’s going to be a big night on June 17 in downtown San Jose with the return of Music in the Park, which will feature three bands – any of which could have been headliners – in Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The lineup includes the Legendary Wailers, led by Bob Marley guitarist Junior Marvin, as well as Third World, led by Jamaican reggae star Stephen “Cat” Coore, and the Skatalites, the seminal ska band with roots in Jamaica in the 1960s. Tickets are available for $35 to $75, and you can purchase them and get more details at www.mitpsj.com.

David H. Henry