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Urban Garden In San Jose May Get Bulldozed For New Development

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- A local San Jose community garden that has weathered storms and drought is facing it's most dire threat yet: demolition and development.

Middlebrook Gardens at at Race and Garland Streets in San Jose is an oasis away from cell phones and screens. Alrie Middlebrook runs her landscape business from here. The problem is she doesn't own the property.

"Well, my landlord wants to make a buck," explained Middlebrook.

Apparently, a big buck. The land owner has plans for a mixed-use development that is in the planning phase. It includes a 5,900 square foot building which -- unless something changes with the plans -- means the garden has to go.

Middlebrook is hopeful that can be avoided.

"I just don't see that it can fall apart. I think the need is too great," said Middlebrook.

It wasn't always a a beautiful natural garden. 19 years ago, it was a gravel parking lot. The transformation happened slowly over time.

There are flowers, sculptured art and even a small pond. Students from around the area come to learn about sustainability and to reconnect with nature.

Santa Clara University Engineering Student Jazmine Low visits often.

"Nature is very healing, especially for people living in Silicon Valley, where we're focused on technology a lot," said Low.

So far, the development proposal has yet to move past the planning stage. Middlebrook says the plans still have to be approved by the planning department and possible even the city council. So while there is still time to enjoy peacefulness and Middlebrook Gardens, there are certainly storm clouds on the horizon.

Despite all that, Middlebrook remains positive.

"It's a magical place! I mean, I saw a little snake in there the other day!" exclaimed Middlebrook.

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