McKelvey ballfields, flood basin set for dedication Saturday

McKelvey Park” width=
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The McKelvey Park ballfields are scheduled for a Saturday grand opening. The fields also serve as a flood detention basin.

After years of planning and construction delays, it’s ready: a $30 million Little League baseball complex at McKelvey Park in Mountain View that doubles as a flood detention basin.

A grand opening is scheduled Saturday morning at the 4.5-acre site on Miramonte Avenue at Park Drive. The city of Mountain View and the Santa Clara Valley Water District, also known as Valley Water, the lead agency, are slated to host a ribbon-cutting event at 11 a.m., followed by a ceremonial first pitch and a Little League baseball game.

Featured are two baseball fields sunken approximately 18 feet below ground level and surrounded by concrete walls. Other highlights include terraced bleachers, concession and scorekeepers’ booths, storage, restrooms and a community room.

Occurring at the same time is a separate dedication ceremony for the neighboring 0.7-acre mini-park. The city of Mountain View is leading the dedication for Schaefer Park, named for the late Mountain View recreation supervisor Donald Schaefer.

The ground-level mini-park, geared toward 5- to 12-year-olds, includes playground equipment, lawn space and a shaded area with picnic tables.

“It will be a great asset for the neighborhood and for children waiting while their sibling is playing on the field,” said city recreation manager Kristine Crosby.

Approved by the Mountain View City Council in 2013, the McKelvey improvements are part of the $89 million Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project. The project, which also includes a detention basin at Rancho San Antonio County Park, is designed to accommodate a 100-year flood – a flood with a yearly 1% chance of occurring.

An inlet and outlet at the site allows water flows to enter and exit the fields, according to Valley Water officials. After large storms pass through and creek flows recede, captured water from the flood basin is then pumped back into the creek. Valley Water officials noted that flood flows would rarely inundate the site and the ballfields would drain out in one to four days.

“The improved fields look incredible and will double as a place to contain floodwaters when Permanente Creek overflows,” said Valley Water director Gary Kremen, whose District 7 includes Los Altos and Mountain View.

Once completed, Valley Water officials estimate the Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project will provide flood protection to approximately 2,200 properties in Mountain View and Los Altos.

The construction at McKelvey Park occurred simultaneously with creek widening work along Permanente and Hale creeks, located next to the fields. Construction was six months behind an initial targeted completion date of July 2019.

Funds for the project derive from Measure B, the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection special parcel tax that Santa Clara County voters approved in 2012.

The 15-acre flood detention basin within Rancho San Antonio County Park is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

Saturday’s celebrations will include refreshments, and souvenirs commemorating the event will be handed out.

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