William Street Park Arch, Garden Created With Strong Community Support

A couple strolls under the William Street Park Arch on a Saturday afternoon.

In a collaborative effort to beautify the place they call home, San Jose’s Naglee Park residents raised money to build a majestic metal arch and plant a garden at William Street Park.

Campus Community Association member Karen English said it took more than two years of coordinating and countless meetings with the city and the neighborhood for this project to be completed. The arch, at the corner of 16th and William streets was unveiled at a ceremony in November.

“But the arch stands in all its loveliness as if it had always been there,” English said. “Plus folks actually know the name of the park when they drive or walk or ride by.”

English said the city planned to put its standard concrete stamp sign in the park, but agreed to let the neighborhood members come up with a design and funding to put something more artistic for the corner garden.

“(Deputy District Attorney and resident) Peter Waite and I officially took over the northwest corner of William Street Park through the city’s Adopt-A-Park program five years ago this spring,” English said. “Parks had removed all the mature juniper bushes and left the corner completely denuded.  We worked with Our City Forest and Campus Community Association Beautification Committee to plant trees, shrubs, bulbs and wildflowers on the corner.”

A couple strolls under the William Street Park Arch on a Saturday afternoon.

The cost of the project, including installation, was $11,000. It was funded by $3,500 in grants and $7,500 in funds raised by the CCA, the neighborhood association for Naglee Park, said CCA Treasurer Ken Podgorsek.

“The City of San Jose paid for the stone pillars and the installation,” he said. “Overall, because of this public private partnership, the sign/arch was installed at a significant savings.”

The City of San Jose, Keep San Jose Beautiful, CCA President Dennis Cunningham and San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo were also involved in the project, wrote Ken Podgorsek, a member of the CCA, in the Naglee Park Advisor newsletter.

A family plays volleyball next to the garden of Wildflowers at William Street Park.

Adam Jacobsen of Brian’s Welding designed it to be inspired by the iron arch at San Pedro Square; the piers and plaque were designed by members of the CCA Beautification committee, English said.

“The William Street Park Sign and Arch is a perfect example when neighbors get together to make a difference and beautify their neighborhood,” Podgorsek said. “It is a great example of a public -private partnership where everyone wins.”

Sean Martin, who lives on 10th Street, said he walks his dog, Nina, at the park almost every day.It’s always nice when they take care of the parks,” he said. “It’s better than having everything around you yellow and dying.”

Jane Harris lives on San Carlos Street and attended the November dedication ceremony along with U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Liccardo and 75 neighbors.

“I love it,” she said. “I love the flowers. It is such a nice park and it’s nice to see so much community involvement.”