News

Council: McKelvey ball fields will stay

The City Council on Tuesday night did not support a proposal for removing a 90-foot baseball field from McKelvey Park, despite a campaign by neighbors for seeking more useable park space.

"It's a community asset, that's why it deserves to stay," said council member Tom Means of the major league-sized field at McKelvey.

Five other council members agreed. Laura Macias had to recuse herself from the discussion because she lives near McKelvey.

The meeting brought Little League players and their families out en masse to defend the baseball tradition at McKelvey. A 90-foot field and a 60-foot Little League field have existed there for more than half a century. Families say evening games keep kids out of trouble on Friday and Saturday nights. And moving the 90-foot field to another location, as some neighbors proposed, would mean splitting up families who have young ones playing on the little field while their older kids play on "big McKelvey."

But the council chambers were also filled with nearby residents who said the kids in the neighborhood end up playing in the street because there is no real neighborhood park, despite the large space at McKelvey.

Community service director Dave Muela said 660 kids a year use McKelvey's baseball fields during the evenings and all day on the weekends for most of the year. But according to one neighbor in the Saint Francis Acres neighborhood, "We also have 300 kids with no place to play."

With the Santa Clara Valley Water District proposing to rebuild McKelvey as a 15-foot-deep flood basin for Permanente Creek, neighbors saw an opportunity to move the larger field to the Shoreline area, where new baseball and soccer fields are being built. A second 60-foot field could replace the 90-footer at McKelvey, leaving more space for a park, neighbors said.

But under the position the council took Tuesday, the 60- and 90-foot baseball fields will remain at McKelvey and neighbors will have to settle for a .7-acre mini-park squeezed onto the edge of the park. Council members noted that while it may sound small, it is actually larger than other mini-parks in the city, including Mercy-Bush Park -- a "jewel" in the Old Mountain View neighborhood, said council member Ronit Bryant, who lives nearby.

The city is planning to build new 60- and 90-foot baseball fields and two soccer fields at Shoreline along Garcia Avenue, which would meet only the current demand for fields, according to city staff. Adding a second, larger baseball field to Shoreline would pose several problems, according a city staff report, including the need for a tall fence where perching raptors would endanger the rare burrowing owls. It would also mean spreading a baseball field across both landfill and non-landfill areas, which settle differently.

The City Council has yet to approve a detailed final plan for McKelvey, and construction could be several years away.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by scott
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 20, 2011 at 1:10 am

At Last, the council gets it right! I grew up in Mtn. View, played Little League and Babe Ruth baseball at McKelvey, and losing these fields would have been a tragedy! I wish the families near St. Francis good luck and success at finding park space for their kids, but moving to Shoreline was not a good solution.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 20, 2011 at 6:26 am

Yes !!!! We keep our ballpark !!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by thomas
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jan 20, 2011 at 10:58 am

yeah..............I drive by that field and see those kids play ball and I get so kid like.....its great to see boys and girls have fun...we come around once in this lifetime ( I think we do )and these parents who wanted to take it away I have no use for.....they seem to be unhappy people.....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVNative
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Thank you city council, for making the right decision with this one. It was definitely the smart and sensible thing to do.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cuesta Neighbor
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Of course, there will likely be no change at McKelvey unless the flood basins at Cuesta Park Annex, Blach School, and Rancho are also approved. No new fields, no new mini park. The four flood basins work together to solve the 100 yr flood problem. And if you have any questions about the potential for flooding, take a look at this article from earlier this week where the USDA/FEMA had a conference about the potential for a superstorm in California:
Web Link

"Such a superstorm is hypothetical but not improbable, climate researchers warn. "We think this event happens once every 100 or 200 years or so, which puts it in the same category as our big San Andreas earthquakes," Geological Survey scientist Lucy Jones said in a press release."

"The risk is gathering momentum now, scientists say, due to rising temperatures in the atmosphere, which has generally made weather patterns more volatile."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by oldabelincoln
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 20, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I love baseball, and grew up playing baseball at school and in pick-up games with friends in the 50's, and I frankly can't see that organized league sports for kids gives anyone much benefit other than perhaps the very few kids who have enough real athletic ability and will become career professional athletes - and the parents who come to root for their kids (as opposed to enjoying baseball) and to boost their own egos through their kids' accomplishments.

I'd much rather we all made preparations for a very likely flood, something that will affect many in Mountain View. It doesn't have to be the superstorm mentioned in the weblink above, we are overdue for the inevitable 100 year flood that the Water District is prudently trying to plan for, and for which everyone living within shouting distance of a creek pays higher flood insurance. You do have flood insurance, don't you?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Oldschoolbaseballer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 26, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Thank you City Council for saving the 90 ft. Big League baseball field at McKelvey. Mountain View has changed so much over the years. That place has so many memories for Mt. View natives. It's a landmark!


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