For release on July 21, 2016   CONTACT:
Alisha Schoen, Deputy District Attorney
Community Prosecution Unit

  For one afternoon this weekend, a team of neighbors, non-profits and community prosecutors will transform a dilapidated San Jose alleyway known mostly for its drug abuse into a colorful street festival complete with an ice cream truck, games, music and a newly unveiled mural.     The Back Alley Block Party, this Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., is intended to revitalize a gateway to two of the city’s most diverse and vibrant neighborhoods – Burbank and Buena Vista.
The free “pop up” makeover party will be held at the Business Circle Back Alley at W. San Carlos St. and S. Bascom Ave. The first 200 people who arrive can get free vouchers for barbeque and ice cream.
Community Prosecutor Alisha Schoen said: “For too long Business Circle, and in particular the back alley, has felt to the neighborhood like it belongs to a dangerous or seedy element. We're throwing this party to take back the space and claim it once again as a part of our community.”
A new 80-foot mural, created by local artist Tulio Flores, will be officially unveiled at the party. A local health club will do regular fitness challenges and give out gift certificates. Also, Our City Forest plans to bring in trees and plants to completely green up the space.
The alley, which at one point was the location for a defunct school bus used for prostitution, is a vital area that neighbors, the District Attorney’s Office, and the San Jose Police Department have worked hard to clean up and make safer. 
"We hope this event inspires people to imagine how their neighborhood can become a more thriving, sustainable place," said Matt Vander Sluis, a director of Greenbelt Alliance, a non-profit agency that helped organize the event. "When a community comes together around a positive vision for the future, there's no limit to what they can accomplish."   County Supervisor Ken Yeager helped support this community event.   The District Attorney’s team of five Community Prosecutors identify the specific needs of a neighborhood such as graffiti prevention and removal, illicit massage parlor abatement, and gang prevention. The team then works with community members to address those issues.   # # #

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