As 2018 comes to a close, the Japantown Business Association and Japantown itself is going through a significant shift. Here is a breakdown of ongoing changes.
Executive Director Departs
Our Executive Director, Kathy Sakamoto, will be leaving the JBA on December 31, 2018. The JBA Board voted to eliminate the ED position for fiscal reasons. Kathy has given almost two decades of leadership to our organization, and we are indebted to her for being the steward of the JBA during Japantown’s growth. She will continue to be involved with Japantown as head of the San Jose Okayama Sister Cities Organization. The JBA will continue to operate in accordance with its bylaws and as directed by its membership and Board with feedback from the community.
Japantown Farmer’s Market
The Japantown Farmer’s Market’s last day is November 18, 2018. The JFM will be closed indefinitely until a new location is determined, as development is slated to begin at the Corporation Yard in December 2018. Thank you to Shea Homes for allowing the Farmer’s Market to continue operation on their property past original deadlines.
Plans were intended for the Farmer’s Market to move onto Jackson Street between 3rd and 4th Streets. Applications were submitted and arrangements made, but ultimately, the San Jose Fire Department only permitted a 3-month stay (Nov-Jan 2019), on the public roadway, so we’d need to find another location immediately. These other factors came into play before the proposed move:
We finally locked down an arrangement to host the mandated porta-potty on private property adjacent to Jackson Street. The Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health asked us to relocate the porta-potty and had regulations on how long the toilet could remain on-site — necessitating shipping in/out toilet facilities every weekend and more than tripling the operational cost.
All agricultural vendors would need to apply for new permits at the new JFM location, which had not been obtained 2 weeks prior to the November move.
A new location would need to be sourced very quickly to meet San Jose Office of Economic Development’s 30-45 day permitting process and a second application fee would be required.
Ultimately, we were not ready. The SJ OED was extraordinarily helpful in expediting the application process, but the JBA Board decided to halt the rushed, temporary move and focus on sourcing a new permanent location. We are already working on options.
$2 Parking Lot Closure
Because construction will soon begin on the Corporation Yard development, the $2 parking lot on 6th/Jackson Street will soon close. As of Nov. 10, we do not have a date for the closure, but will announce one as soon as we know.
Small Business Saturday
The JBA is exploring options to replicate last year’s Small Business Saturday event in Japantown on November 24, 2018 — providing free parking for shoppers through sponsorship of meter fees.
You may sign up to “reserve” a meter (or several) in front of your business, and we will notify you of prices (estimated to be about $20/meter for the full day). You are not obligated to purchase; we will contact you to confirm participation prior to the event. Click here to reserve your meter.
Each meter will be bagged and labeled with your business name on Small Business Saturday, so shoppers can acknowledge your participation. Please note: this event has not been confirmed with the SJ OED, but we are optimistic it will occur.
Pedestrian Safety in Japantown
The recent pedestrian fatality at 6th/Taylor highlighted the ongoing need to enhance pedestrian safety in Japantown. The current pedestrian crosswalk lights were reported to have been faulty. No replacement solutions have been proposed as of yet, but communication between San Jose District 3 Councilmember Raul Peralez and San Jose’s Department of Transportation to address this matter was immediate.
Japantown will host the Beerwalk on Saturday, December 1, 2018 from 2pm to 5pm, benefitting the JBA and Bay Area Brewers Guild. You can purchase tickets here. If you would like to volunteer for this event, fill out the Google Form here. The Beerwalk donates $50 to the charity of choice on behalf of every volunteer — two Japantown organizations, the Japantown Community Congress and Yu Ai Kai, are listed.
Please come by the Japantown Business Association office on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 6:15pm for our monthly meeting (please note the special date), if you’d like to be involved in current discussions. We welcome community feedback and will be asking for volunteer participation for upcoming events as needed.