Purchase to Add 534 Acres to San Jose Park (CA)

Conservation Group Buys Property, Search for Funding for Public Purchase Continues

SAN JOSE, CA — The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today its purchase and interim protection of the 534-acre Kirk property, adjacent to Alum Rock Park in east San Jose. TPL hopes to transfer ownership of the $1,934,000 property to the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority to enhance Alum Rock Park, the largest and oldest park in the city of San Jose’s park system.

“Santa Clara County is one of the most rapidly developing areas in California. The protection of the Kirk property will offer the growing San Jose population critical open space for family outings, hiking, biking and other recreation. We are working closely with the Land Trust For Santa Clara County, the Coastal Conservancy, the Open Space Authority, the city of San Jose, and private donors to lineup the funds necessary for public purchase and long-term protection of the property,” says Tim Wirth, Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land.

The purchase protects one of the most visually prominent, undeveloped hillsides adjacent to the city of San Jose. In addition protecting hundreds of acres of open space for public recreation, the acquisition also provides an important link for the 400-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail. The property offers sweeping views of the Santa Clara Valley and is home to several vanishing Bay Area wildlife habitats. The property, which has five natural springs, is also part of the Penitencia Creek watershed.

TPL’s project partner, the Land Trust For Santa Clara County, has taken the lead in securing the $1,934,000 for the public purchase of the property from TPL.

The California Coastal Conservancy is considering a grant of $500,000 for the purchase. A final decision on the grant is expect at the end of January. The Open Space Authority has already committed $100,000 to the acquisition. In addition, TPL and the Land Trust are seeking private foundation funding. TPL hopes to transfer the property to the Santa Clara Open Space Authority in March.

“This is an exciting first project for our land trust to help ensure a greenbelt edge in this area of San Jose. We’ve garnered a lot of support for the purchase of this property are are actively working to bring similar conservation efforts to fruition,” states Jim Compton, President of the Land Trust For Santa Clara County.

Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment. TPL has protected more than 1,000,000 acres nationwide including more than 20,000 acres in the San Francisco Bay Area. TPL recently launched its Greenprint for Growth campaign to conserve land as a way to guide growth, protect air and water, and ensure a high quality of life in communities nationwide. For more information, please visit our website at www.tpl.org.

The Santa Clara County Open Space Authority is a new agency dedicated to preserving viewshed, habita,t and trail corridors in the Santa Clara Valley area. The Kirk property is the third major acquisition of this agency in Santa Clara County. With this purchase, the Authority will own more than 5,000 aces of open space on the urban edge.

The Land Trust for Santa Clara County, a nonprofit community-based organization founded in 1997, is dedicated to the conservation of open space lands with scenic, wildlife or agricultural values in Santa Clara County.