There might still be a few weeks of winter left, but Milpitas is already planning for its biggest party of the spring.
On Tuesday, the Milpitas Economic Development Department presented plans for Better Block Milpitas, a two-day installation to be built along Serra and Main Streets that will feature outdoor art, music, games, pop-up shops, and “people-focused spaces.” That means spaces with less traffic, more open spaces, playgrounds, and small businesses. Better Block Milpitas is set to be open from May 29-30.
“We’re building [Better Block] with a strong community focus,” said Krista Nightengale, the managing director at Dallas-based urban planning nonprofit Better Block. “I joke that sometimes we build for Instagram, but it’s really more than that. We’re letting the community design and influence what this space can become and a space they can be proud of.”
The installations are designed to be put together and taken apart within hours, allowing flexibility for things like cafe seating, swing sets, performance stages, and open-air markets, among others.
The two-day event will be staffed by volunteers and directed by the Better Block organization and city officials.
“There’s a strong desire by community members to have a downtown that’s successful with successful businesses and thriving open space where people can gather and eat, drink and hear music,” said Milpitas Economic Development Director Alex Andrade.
Tuesday’s meeting at Milpitas City Hall served as a kickoff workshop for residents interested in volunteering for the event. City officials will collect feedback through an online survey to be used as the city ramps up its preparation for Better Block.
“We want the community to participate because we want to do this together. We’re going to need lots of volunteers,” said Andrade. “There’s a role for everyone.”
Milpitas’s Better Block project is just the latest initiative from the Better Block organization. Better Block aims to create more open and interactive spaces in urban and suburban areas through block party-related events. The nonprofit has implemented its open space projects in places like Dallas; Detroit; Akron, Ohio; and Duluth, Minnesota.
Tuesday’s kickoff event will be followed by more informational meetings over the next two months, which will give the City and its residents the opportunity to sign up for various roles in planning the event.
“There was a heyday in our downtown,” said Andrade. “We want to bring that back to life.”
To learn more about Better Block, click here.