Middlebrook Garden

Community Rallies to Help Imperiled San Jose Garden

Mike Colgan
February 15, 2019 - 2:36 pm

SAN JOSE — San Jose residents are rallying behind the organizers of a community garden that's at risk of being demolished to make room for a retail complex. 

Middlebrook Gardens in the Hanchett Park neighborhood draws about 8,000 visitors, mainly students, every year. But its owner Fred Soltanzad sees it as a promising site for redevelopment because of its proximity to nearby land that Google intends to turn into a vast array of offices, housing and shopping

Google's plans to remake a swathe of San Jose near Diridon Station is itself a source of controversy in the South Bay city. 

More neighbors have gotten involved in the quest to protect the gardens since KCBS Radio aired a story earlier this week about its precarious situation. 

Ryan Leary, who owns a nearby bail bonds company, made a $500 donation to the garden after seeing the report.

“I do tend to see the ugliness of the city, but I am also giving people a chance with things,” he said. “I think something like this is extremely important.

"This is an oasis in the concrete jungle," he added. 

Alrie Middlebrook, who created the garden 18 years ago, said she was surprised by all the people who heard and saw the story. She’s grateful for all the support.

“People showed up that I’ve never met before. There’s some very, very bright people who live in this community and they really care about their neighborhood,” she said, “and they’re coming out and they’re making a big difference.”

A community rally will be held on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the property, 76 Race St.  

Written by Brian Krans.