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Massive San Jose homeless camp could become dog park, disc golf course

San Jose, California city leaders are currently looking to transform one of the Bay Area’s biggest homeless encampments into a dog park, disc golf course, and public garden. But first, the city will have to confront a major problem head on: moving over 100 homeless people out of the area. 

The camp of tents and make-shift homes as well as vehicles sprawl across 40 empty acres near San Jose’s airport. According to an order by the Federal Aviation Administration, the area will have to be cleared by the end of June this year.

In order to prevent unhoused people from heading back once the space has been emptied, and to also open the land up for public use, city staff have put forth a development plan that would include a 9.5-acre plot for disc golf, a 5.5-acre dog park, and wildflower meadows that could be transformed into community gardens.

Because the city has such a major shortage of housing options available, city staffers say they will be unlikely to meet the June 30 deadline. The rush has left officials hurrying to find more room where people can stay.

“All of our ambitions with this park are certainly worthy, but the most critical aspect is dealing with the human need that is there on display in the park,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo during a Tuesday City Council discussion.

Council members voted unanimously to go forward with the revamp proposal of the encampment site. They also authorized staff members to gather community feedback on the plan as well as to seek funding. The City Council will have to consider in April whether they want to ask the FAA for an extension on the June 30 deadline.

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: ABC NEWS

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