Building it so they can come: A ballpark doubles as a flood basin

Progress on the Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project continues with notable construction of improved baseball fields at McKelvey Park. The new baseball field will double as a place to contain floodwaters when Pemanente Creek overflows. This construction is happening simultaneously with channel widening work along Permanente and Hale creeks which started this spring. Work on the streams is expected to be completed at the end of the year.

McKelvey Park is scheduled to be completed in spring 2019.  The community highlights for this portion of the project include new and improved baseball fields with terraced bleachers, a mini-park facility with playgrounds, concession and scorekeeper’s booth, storage, restrooms and a community room.

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By serving as a flood basin, the new ball fields will reduce flood risks for neighboring homes and businesses by catching overflow from Permanente Creek and reducing the amount of water flowing downstream. The detention area will be approximately 4.5 acres and 18 feet deep. Once the storm passes through and creek flows recede, captured water from the flood basin will be redirected into the creek. Flood flows would inundate the site very rarely and the detention area would drain out in one to four days.

The challenges with designing flood protection projects in urban areas are existing land limitations to widen, deepen or install high floodwalls at existing channels. A flood basin is another way to protect neighborhoods and businesses from flooding. The Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project will provide flood protection for approximately 2,200 properties in Mountain View and Los Altos.

Check out a brief construction update from project manager Lotina Nishijima.



  1. Is there a way to use the water running through the creeks for drinking, irrigation or other purposes? Or does the Bay need it the most? I’m concerned we’re possibly wasting a valuable resource.


    1. arbrody,
      Thanks for your question. Valley Water has a three-fold mission: to provide safe, clean water; to protect the environment; and to provide flood protection. The water flowing through creeks is an essential component of this mission. We use the water in many creeks as one way to replenish our groundwater basins. The water in creeks throughout the county also supports the natural environment, including fish and wildlife and their habitat. We understand the desire to conserve this precious resource, and encourage everyone to do their part. For more information on our water supply, visit and click on “Your Water.”



    1. Just drove by McKelvey baseball park and I am guessing that it will not be open till next baseball season. Are they going to have a dedication of the new park? What about the plakes that where dedicated for Freddy Glenn the original care taker back when the park first opened?


      1. Thank you for the questions.
        We are planning a dedication event upon completion of the project at McKelvey Park. We anticipate construction to be concluded by the end of September; however, there may be follow-up work that could take one to two months.
        We anticipate McKelvey Park will be ready for the 2020 baseball season.
        Our team at Valley Water is not aware of previous dedication plaques. We are attempting to find an answer for you regarding the plaques.


  2. So it’s October and McKelvy Park still isn’t open, 26 months and counting.

    Obviously progress is being made, but it’s pretty slow.

    I would very much like to encourage there to be pedestrian access down the ramp from Mountain View road. Currently there is an opening and I hope that it isn’t fenced off or closed. I’ve checked all the drawings released and none of them cover this spot. I understand the ramp is gated to prevent vehicle access, however maintaining a walkway so pedestrians can access the fields from Mountain View avenue would be nice. The people who use the park every single day are the neighbors, who come in from local streets, not the parking lot. It would be much more convenient to walk down the ramp and not bring the dog through the playground.

    Neighbors with dogs use this park multiple times a day every single day. I would again encourage the installation of a few dog accessible water fountains – otherwise many people will just have their dogs use the people fountains. I would also encourage the installation of dog waste bag dispensers at all entrances and exits to the fields. Most of us carry these, but sometimes you use the last bag and then the dog goes again. We really don’t want the baseball players to step in dog feces.
    Any updates would be appreciated.


    1. Thank you for your inquiry regarding access to McKelvey Park from Mountain View Avenue. This new park design offers several safe, public entrances into the park, more than the previous condition. There will be three entrances that lead into the park from Mountain View Avenue. The first one is located at the corner of Mountain View and Park Drive. The second entrance will be in-between the playground area and the homes on Abraham Court. The third entrance, which serves as a pedestrian path to Miramonte Avenue and the park, is next to the Abraham Court homes and Valley Water’s maintenance entrance.
      The maintenance entrance/ramp will be limited to maintenance crews as it leads to the pumps that were installed to empty the basin when used to provide flood protection to the downstream communities. For the safety of neighbors and those using the park, the pumps need to be secured behind the gate. The maintenance ramp was designed to be driven on and not to standards that would safely allow pedestrian use.
      Dog fountains have been installed at the park, and your suggestions about dog waste bags will be shared with staff from the City of Mountain View. This multi-benefit use park will have something for everyone and be a great addition to the neighborhood for all to enjoy.
      Thank you


  3. We drive by Schaefer Park everyday and see that the construction of the park is almost complete. Is there any update on when Schaefer Park will be open for kids to play?


    1. Thank you for your inquiry regarding Schaefer Park. The contractor is currently going through a series of inspections for Schaefer and McKelvey parks. The inspections involve various departments from the City of Mountain View and Santa Clara County. These inspections result in what we refer to as a deficiency list, or items that need to be corrected. Depending on the number of items and their complexity, the completion of the deficiency list can take anywhere from one to two months to complete. The contractor is working as quickly as possible to complete these items. We do this to ensure the park and facilities are safe for public use and that they function as intended. We are eager and excited to see this project completed and in use by the community. We expect to have a more definitive answer on the opening in the next few weeks. Please contact us again. We apologize for not having a more accurate date.


  4. OK, It is now January 19th, 2020 and still no up date as to when McKelvey park will be open and or the dedication of the new play area and baseball little league and regular baseball fields. Drove by today and it looks really close to being open for games and play ground.


    1. Hello Mike:

      The work is done, but crews are installing equipment for the concession stands and for other parts of the park. We are coordinating with the City of Mountain View for a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for Feb. 29. We will email you an event invitation once it is finalized.


      1. Thank You for the info on opening date for Schaefer park and hope you can locate the plaque For Freddy Glenn the original care taker for both the little league and big league parks and his 51 Chevy he used to drag and prep both fields.


      2. Hi Valley Water,
        If they’re installing equipment in the concession stands, why are the dog fields and the playground still fenced off? Couldn’t the neighbors start using the park while they finish up the final touches in the concession stands? 29 months and counting…


      3. Valley Water was given a temporary easement on the property to build the project. The park, along with the baseball fields, are owned and operated by the City of Mountain View. The use and/or opening of the park will be determined by Mountain View. We are coordinating a community celebration and ribbon cutting event for the project on Feb. 29 at 11 a.m. We hope you can join us!


  5. Thank you for the update on McKelvey. Where you able to find the Freddy Glenn memorial that was at the old scorers booth?


    1. Thank you for your inquiry regarding McKelvey Park. The park is owned by the City of Mountain View, which has possession of the plaque. Mountain View will decide on the placement of the plaque. We are inviting community members to join us on Feb. 29 at 11 a.m. for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at McKelvey Park.


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