Heinlenville Park may be San Jose’s newest open urban space, but it comes with more than a century of history to its name, befitting its location in the city’s historic Japantown neighborhood. A few hundred people attended the grand opening ceremony Tuesday afternoon, which opened with a blessing and ended with a celebratory lion dance and a sake toast.
“It’s not every day we get to open a new public space, certainly not one so beautiful. This park is exceptional,” said Mayor Matt Mahan, who called Japantown a “community that is passionate about celebrating, commemorating and living the culture of our Japanese community while also welcoming change and newcomers.”
Shea Properties built the park to complement its Sixth and Jackson apartments and plans to grant it to the city. Features within the park reflect its history, too.
“Sheltering Wing,” a 19-foot-tall metal sculpture created by Stoller Studios in San Jose, tells the story of the evolving and inclusive community through images of “Asian positivity” in the metal-lace artwork representing bamboo, peaches, koi, origami cranes, butterflies and chrysanthemums, among others. There’s an interpretive sign exploring the history of the area and a paved “history path” that recounts the Chinese American experience. Japantown sculptor Ken Matsumoto created the stonework in the north garden, part of the landscape designed by Jason Victor
“This park is a testament to the collective efforts of so many people,” said Sean McEachern of Shea Properties. “Everyone on the team knew the importance of what we needed to deliver.”