The Merc’s John Woolfork reports on the first meeting of the 30-person committee put together to go over community issues for the Diridon South ballpark site and surrounding neighborhoods.
The City Council last month enthusiastically approved a set of principles meant to guide any future negotiations with the team, such as a pledge that any stadium be privately built and actually make money for the city in tax revenue.
The committee’s 30 members include transit officials, neighborhood leaders, representatives from the group that runs the nearby HP Pavilion and nearby businesses such as Adobe Systems. Also on tap are town-hall meetings in all 10 council districts in September and October.
Reed told the committee he spoke with Wolff earlier in the day and that the team owner was “still optimistic” about San Jose’s prospects for working out the territorial issue. Reed said he hopes to have a decision from baseball authorities by the end of the summer to meet the city’s deadline for putting a ballpark on the ballot. But he said he wants the city to be prepared if baseball gives the green light by working out concerns and showing support for the project.
While it’s clear that the Diridon/Arena area will get a facelift should the ballpark and HSR move in, the fate of the Delmas Park neighborhood to the immediate east is less certain. One of the chief requests I heard from Delmas Park residents in the past was to close down Park Avenue to traffic on gameday. The closure would benefit the residents by discouraging outsiders from parking in the area, while also creating a much wider pedestrian thoroughfare between Downtown proper and the ballpark. Park Avenue is also somewhat blighted, with several properties on the street and on Delmas Avenue boarded up. There’s also a lack of uniformity with yard setbacks intermingled with commercial properties that should be addressed. It’s a stark contrast from the other side of Hwy 87, where Park Avenue is a truncated boulevard with palm trees in the median. It’s a shame that something like a ballpark or HSR would have to be an impetus for a major change, but that’s often what happens in redevelopment.