Mountain View Voice

News - November 26, 2010

Neighbors offer compromise for McKelvey fields

by Daniel DeBolt

Neighbors of McKelvey Park say they have a "win-win" solution to the controversy about how to revamp their neighborhood park, but youth baseball leagues aren't entirely happy about it.

Ever since the Santa Clara Valley Water District proposed rebuilding McKelvey Park so it's 15 feet lower, in order to use it as a Permanente Creek flood basin, residents of the St. Francis Acre neighborhood have been seeking more useable space in their neighborhood park. McKelvey has been taken up completely by two baseball fields for over 50 years.

Last week the Voice reported on a new proposal from park neighbor Lloyd Yu that would completely remove McKelvey's two baseball fields in favor of a smaller multi-use sports field for football, soccer and lacrosse. Yu argued that city policies say the neighborhood should lead the redesign of the park, and pointed to a petition signed by 200 neighbors that "would like McKelvey to be transformed from a single-use baseball facility to a multi-use neighborhood open space."

But since then a different group of neighbors has presented another idea to the Voice, which neighbor Elizabeth Thompson said has been discussed for over a year. It involves trading the larger of the two baseball fields at McKelvey with another Little League-sized field proposed for the Shoreline area along Garcia Avenue. The result would be two Little League fields at McKelvey and two major league-sized fields at Shoreline Park.

Thompson said that change would leave plenty of room at McKelvey for neighborhood enjoyment and Little League baseball, while also eliminating noise and the bright lights used for nighttime baseball games on the larger fields, which kids play on after they turn 12.

"It seems to work out really well," Thompson said. Little League teams will have two fields at McKelvey and "we get a pretty decent space to have neighborhood park." It makes for a more "neighborhood-friendly environment."

"We don't want to displace" the baseball teams, Thompson said. "We understand that there is 50 years of history" of baseball at McKelvely.

But one of the main users of the larger field at McKelvey was not pleased with the proposal. Elaine Spence, president of Mountain View Babe Ruth Baseball, said that the 12 and older kids "would lose field time" under the proposal for a number of reasons. One is that the Shoreline ball fields in the works have already been designated as multi-use fields, which means that baseball teams would be "lobbying soccer, softball, lacrosse and everyone else for field time."

The proposal would also split up some families when their 8-year-old is playing on the Little League fields at McKelvey and their 13-year-old has to play with the bigger kids out at Shoreline, she said.

"Having both fields together near downtown Mountain View is a plus for families that play baseball," Spence said. "Mom and dad can watch both games."

She added that McKelvey's central location allows a lot of kids, including those who play Marauders football at McKelvey, to ride a bike to their games and practices. The Shoreline fields make kids more dependent on their parents to drive them there. And a lot of parents may not even want to face the traffic on Shoreline Boulevard and Rengstorff Avenue, especially during concerts at Shoreline Amphitheatre, Spence said.

Spence reiterated comments made last week by council member Laura Macias that the .7-acre carve-out for a playground and neighborhood park in the latest design for McKelvey is actually larger than other neighborhood parks in the city, including Mercy-Bush Park.

Community Services Director Dave Muela said that an alternative proposal from neighbors won't be the proposal city staff brings to the City Council for approval, unless the council specifically asks for such a design.

Muela said city had not considered the added cost of building two major league-sized baseball fields at Shoreline. The city has budgeted $9 million in Shoreline tax district funds for the Shoreline ball fields while the Water District says it will cost $9.1 million for its latest proposal at McKelvey.

City Council meetings on both the Shoreline and McKelvey fields are expected sometime early next year.

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields