A Weekly Message to Member Businesses
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To our members:

On Monday Alex Stettinski will start his new job as Chief Executive Officer of San Jose Downtown Association, and Scott Knies will step into a month-long consulting role as Outgoing CEO.

For the past few months Knies has been busy tying up loose ends and ensuring a smooth transition.  Meanwhile, the community and media have been interviewing him, notably a sit down with Larry Stone for a San Jose Rotary program; a Spotlight podcast with outgoing Councilmember Raul Peralez; an in-depth podcast with Content magazine founder Daniel Garcia; and a Q & A in the Mercury News over the weekend.

Stettinski has been equally busy trying to ensure his own smooth transition.  He is loaded with place management and economic development experience that includes West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and most recently Reno.  In the August edition of the Dimension newsletter, Stettinski describes how his experience is applicable for Downtown San Jose.

The best place to welcome Stettinski will be at the SJDA Annual Meeting at the Hammer Theatre Center on Oct. 14, starting at 8:15 a.m.  As outgoing CEO, Knies will deliver his final State of the Downtown address, which usually includes some prognosticating about the future.

Can't make the meeting?  You can watch from your electronic device. The meeting will also be streamed live via Vimeo. And you can register here whether you intend to attend in person or not

2022 Member Survey and election of Board of Directors

In addition, please participate in the 2022 Member Survey and election of SJDA’s Board of Directors for the 2023-2025 term by filling out SJDA's online Board Ballot and Member Survey.

Members located within the Business Improvement District are eligible to vote. As for the survey, SJDA takes the results very seriously and helps the board and staff adjust strategies and initiatives accordingly.

As an incentive, all ballots received by Oct. 13 will be eligible for a drawing for one of three downtown prize packages.  It’s always fun to win something!

Thank you.

In Today's Message
Abierto public activation - Apply to produce San Jose events

Four groups still accepting applications -- evaluations begin soon

There's still time to apply for a piece of $600,000 in Abierto program funds intended to bring people back to San Jose and celebrate after two difficult years.

San Jose Downtown Association will accept applications through Friday and assess the grants in early October.  Filco Events, San Jose Jazz and School of Arts and Culture will accept applications into October,  A review committee will evaluate applications and recommend grant awards soon.

All the applications are filtered and dispensed to the four groups through the City of San Jose.  Start by
completing an Intent to Participate form available at and send it to Justin Imamura at  Forms are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese.

San Jose arts-based individuals, groups or organizations who plan to celebrate the city’s re-opening through events and public space activations are eligible.  Abierto (Italian for “open”) funding provided by the Mayor’s Budget Office of the City of San Jose will range between $500 and $50,000 per applicant.  

The four lead agencies will process the requests, disseminate the funds and provide logistical support.  Before the end of June 2023, recipients can take part three different ways:

  • Activate in Viva Parks/Viva CalleSJ programming;
  • Activate in a one-time program or event;
  • Or activate an event or activation series.
2021 Abierto project funded through SJDA recognized by National Humanities Alliance.

The Public Art as Resistance in San Jose project has been spotlighted by the National Humanities Alliance. The project "sets out to honor and highlight the rich environment of downtown San Jose and the abundance of public art peppered throughout the downtown city streets, with more than 300 pieces in a five-mile radius," said a blog on

Twelve works were honored in walking tours of downtown.  Three tour stops featured SJDA programs: SoFA Pocket Park, pictured above (courtesy Katherine D. Harris), Downtown Doors, and the PBID Street Life program.

Read the blog

Said Dr. Katherine D. Harris, Director of Public Programming for the College of Humanities and the Arts at San Jose State:  "This project is really about the relationship between downtown San Jose and public art. The collaboration between faculty and students is unique to Public Humanities projects -- and the willingness to collaborate from our community partners made this project more than about SJSU. It's about the lifeblood of downtown San Jose. We were so pleased to have received Cal Humanities funding to initiate the project and look forward to adding to it with future funding. We are especially enthusiastic about all of the added public art/murals over the last 3-4 months and have already been excitedly discussing getting to know those artists better.  

"Here's to more collaborations with the City of San Jose in the future!"
San Jose's back-to-work numbers rise another point

Forty percent of workers have returned to San Jose offices, according to latest report

After a 5.5 percent gain the week before, San Jose office occupancy grew another point last week, bringing San Jose's five day average to 40.4 percent, according to the back-to-work compilers at Kastle Access Control Systems.

The San Jose metro area is still 7 percent behind the average of 10 American metro areas studied since the pandemic began, and has trailed the other nine areas most of this year. However, San Jose got out of the cellar and is o.4% away from climbing into eighth place. This week's bottom dweller is San Francisco, which dropped 1.5% to 39.2%. Philadelphia's current number is 40.8%.

Pilot program provides annual transit passes to downtown employees

City of San Jose will reimburse businesses providing transit passes to all their employees

To help get people out of their cars and into public transit, the City of San Jose's Department of Transportation has started a pilot program that provides reimbursement to businesses (not residential or colleges/schools) that enroll in VTA’s SmartPass program
Using the Parking Fund, the City (DOT) will reimburse companies on a first-come-first-served basis, with a total of $100,000 available this fiscal year and another $100,000 next fiscal year.  Large and small companies in any metered district (Downtown, Japantown, East Santa Clara) can qualify.

Businesses must get passes for every employee -- not just some employees -- by signing up on the VTA website.  Once businesses get their passes they will need to go to DOT with proof that they purchased passes for every employee.  

The downtown passes range from $165 for non-profits to $180.  More information:
Determining SmartPass Categories
Determining Service Level
Determining your Annual Rate per Participant 

To receive reimbursement for VTA SmartPass enrollment, email DOT at

Downtown Doors Reception TODAY

19th annual Downtown Doors Artist & Sponsor Virtual Reception
Thursday, Sept. 29 | 6 p.m.
Free | Zoom

RSVP here

Meet the student artists from San Jose high schools who have contributed their artwork to enhance Downtown San Jose's urban landscape, and learn the techniques they used and inspiration for their pieces. We'll celebrate the 10 students, their schools and program sponsors and thank the downtown site hosts. New art installation is under way this week.  Information is updated at

Meetings and workshops 
Do you want to start a business?
Thursday, Sept. 29 | 3:30-5 pm
Free on Zoom | Register
Find out what you need to b successful. From business plan to loans to permits – learn from Allie Lopez, Small Business Development Center and Xuan Ha, City of San Jose Small Business Ally.  In English with Spanish, Vietnamese and Mandarin interpretation.

Joint Venture Silicon Valley 2022 Poll
Oct. 4 | 9 a.m.
Free on Zoom | Register

The Poll is an annual public opinion survey that tracks recurring questions probing how residents feel about the general direction of the region and their stance on a range of policy and planning questions. Each year the poll also poses timely and topical questions about current events.  The first poll was released Oct. 21, 2021.

Real business owners, real perspectives
Oct. 6 | 11 a.m. PDT
Free | Register
Hosted by Business Journals

This webinar features business owners from various businesses sharing their unique ownership stories and their advice to other owners on leading a successful and growing businesses into the future and to build a strong financial future for the owner.

  • Strategies for maintaining growth and managing the risks that could threaten the business.
  • How successful family business owners lead their companies by focusing "on their business."
  • Why a current business valuation helps focus direction of a business and the business owner's future financial needs for the family.
Street closures

Oct 8-Oct 9, Saturday-Sunday, 5am-5pm -- Crews will close a series of streets for the United Airlines Rock n' Roll Half Marathon. There are three routes for the Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, and Kids Run. View the list of road closures for the event. 

Through Oct 3, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. — Crews will demolish sidewalk at Park Ave between Woz Way and Almaden Blvd. 

Through Nov. 16,  Every Wednesday, 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.  —  Crew members will set up a farmer’s market on First St between San Carlos St and San Salvador St. Both directions of First St will close.

Sept. 29, Thursday, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.  — Crews will close S First St between William and Reed St for the Best Buy Tech Teen Center Grand Opening.

Oct 10-Oct 21, Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm -- Crews will close Santa Clara St between Third St and First St to restore asphalt at the Second St and Santa Clara St intersection. Westbound Santa Clara St traffic may not turn left into Second St. Eastbound Santa Clara St traffic will merge to the left lane. Southbound Second St traffic must turn left or right at the intersection. 

Groundwerx keeps it clean

Groundwerx Cleaning Crews help keep downtown clean with sidewalk sweeping, anti-graffiti efforts, pressure washing and more. The special equipment used by Groundwerx is designed to be as quiet and environmentally friendly as possible. 

If you see a mess that needs immediate attention, call Groundwerx at 408-287-1520. Groundwerx also has an app that can be downloaded on Apple App Store and Google Play.

Downtown is hiring

Businesses can list and prospective employees can search jobs on SJDA's Downtown Is Hiring Webpage. Check it out.

Coming up

Women of Impact Luncheon
Oct. 14 | 11:30 am
Signia by Hilton San Jose | Hosted by Notre Dame High School

$175 | Register before noon Sept. 29

For the past 13 years, Notre Dame San Jose has been celebrating the contributions of women in Silicon Valley at our annual Women of Impact event. Honoring women for their vision, commitment and leadership, the event highlights their important role in our community and provides resources to transform the future through education that prepares young women for engagement and leadership in careers and fields where they are underrepresented.

This year Notre Dame will honor Dr. Mary Lomax-Ghirarduzzi, the author of Twice as Good: Leadership & Power for Women of Color and the inaugural vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and full professor of communication at University of Pacific, as well as Lori Castillo '92 Martinez, the vice president and chief equality officer at Salesforce.

This event supports tuition assistance as well as expands opportunities for young women to pursue leadership programs and advanced classes in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).

Questions or to sponsor a table, or (408) 294-1113 x2170.

After 34 years, CEO Scott Knies is leaving the San Jose Downtown Association. Join us for dinner, drinks, dancing, dragging Scott’s name through the mud.  Tickets and Sponsorships

Downtown San Jose and Silicon Valley in the News

More recent media reports involving Downtown San Jose/Silicon Valley. Subscriptions may be necessary to see the article.

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Grants and Loans City
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