The American Public Works Association, Silicon Valley Chapter (APWA) honors Everett N. “Eddie” Souza Park as its 2019 Project of the Year!
The park and community garden’s success was achieved through extensive community outreach and a commitment to work cohesively with managing agencies, consultants, and the City of Santa Clara. Formerly San Tomas & Monroe Park, this 2-acre public space was renamed to honor the late Everett N. “Eddie” Souza. Gates + Associates was pleased to receive the Project of the Year award in partnership with FCGA Architects, and Bellecci & Associates Civil Engineering.
On a beautiful Saturday in August 2018, the park had its ribbon cutting ceremony and opened to the public! The ceremony was well attended: families and visitors were eager to explore play spaces, engage with nature, and celebrate the long-awaited community space.
An agrarian theme honoring the area’s agricultural past unifies the space. This includes: community garden plots and an organic waste management program, a native butterfly garden paired with informational signage, age appropriate play spaces with a multi-purpose lawn, and gathering spaces for BBQ and picnic. There is also a small dog run by the parking lot which serves the park and adjacent San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail.
Clara the Bee can be found on the informational signage throughout the park. She teaches viewers about on-site water management and California’s need to conserve water. She also relates the users’ park experience to the larger landscape by describing the San Tomas Aquino Creek watershed, Santa Clara Valley’s agrarian history, and the importance of local pollination. The City hosts educational events and workshops on site to engage people with their food production, history, and natural environment.
Interpretive signage also educates visitors on the ins and outs of planting your own garden. It is important for people to reconnect with where their food comes from. Residents can sign up to maintain their very own plot in the park and learn about organic waste management and gardening.
Santa Clara’s agrarian history is further honored by the barn-like and naturalist style of the play, gathering spaces, and public restroom structure. Planting is incorporated into play areas to encourage a connection to nature and unify the site experience. Play spaces for differing age groups placed next to gathering spaces allow visitors of any age to engage with the space.
Whether you are a green-thumb master, a first time gardener, a child wanting to run and play, a butterfly interested in the pollinator garden, or an individual enjoying some fresh air, Everett N. “Eddie” Souza Park and Community Garden is a space for all.
Gates + Associates is proud to have been a part of creating this award-winning open space to get people outside.
Article written by: Mikaela Bernhardt