By Director Gary Kremen, Representative for District 7
Valley Water’s work on a flood protection project at McKelvey Park in Mountain View, which incorporates great recreational benefits for our community, is complete. And soon, residents will hear two words that signify the park is open to the community.
Earlier this month, Valley Water finished part of the project for Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project with the construction of sunken baseball fields at McKelvey Park. The improved fields look incredible and will double as a place to contain floodwaters when Permanente Creek overflows.
Permanente Creek has a history of flooding, having experienced major flooding on at least 11 occasions, most recently in 1998. Flooding can result in millions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses and schools.
Once completed, the Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project will provide flood protection to approximately 2,200 properties in Mountain View and Los Altos. An estimated 630 parcels that are downstream of El Camino Real will be removed from the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map, meaning they will no longer be required to pay for flood insurance. This could potentially save those property owners over $1 million in insurance premiums.
The McKelvey Park project was built as a dual-purpose facility, providing flood protection to downstream neighborhoods and recreational space for Mountain View residents. Other community highlights of the McKelvey Park portion of the Permanente Creek Flood Protection project include terraced bleachers for families and fans to watch the games, a mini-park facility with playgrounds, concession and scorekeeper’s booths, storage, restrooms and a community room.
On Feb. 29 at 11 a.m., City of Mountain View and Valley Water will host a ribbon-cutting event for the completion of the flood protection project at McKelvey Park, which will be followed by a ceremonial first pitch and a Little League baseball game. Please come join us in this community celebration, where refreshments will be served, and a souvenir commemorating the event will be handed out.
The construction at McKelvey Park happened simultaneously with creek widening work along Permanente and Hale creeks, located next to the fields. The overall efforts are part of Valley Water’s commitment to keep residents and businesses safe through our flood protection programs.
Funds for the $89 million Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project derive from Measure B, the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection special parcel tax that was overwhelmingly approved by Santa Clara County voters in 2012.
Another part of the project, flood protection improvement within Rancho San Antonio County Park, is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. These improvements will also include additional parking and greatly improved restrooms.
The sunken baseball fields are approximately 4.5 acres and 18 feet deep. Valley Water built an inlet and outlet to allow water flows to enter and exit the fields. After large storms pass through and creek flows recede, captured water from the flood basin would then be slowly pumped back into the creek. Flood flows would inundate the site very rarely and the ballfields would drain out in one to four days.
Valley Water appreciates the City of Mountain View’s longstanding partnership on this critical flood protection project.