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Water District floats flood basin idea for McKelvey Park

Original post made on Aug 20, 2009

Next week, the City Council will take up a familiar debate: the proposal of turning a local park into a 15-foot-deep flood basin to prevent property damage in case of a major flood. The upcoming study session, however, is on McKelvey Park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 20, 2009, 10:03 AM

Comments (10)

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Posted by CW
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 20, 2009 at 3:00 pm

The kids get a new ball park facility. The homeowners gets flood control and avoids flood insurance. Why does Laura Macias attack the Water District on a win-win project?

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Posted by T.M. Wong
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 20, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Why? Because Laura Macias has a do-nothing, NIMBY attitude that causes her knee to jerk for a "refuse first, ask no questions later" response to any kind of development in Mountain View. That's why.

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Posted by marnie
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 20, 2009 at 9:04 pm

I think Laura Macias is generally clear thinking and grounded and I respect her opinion. She is not afraid to look at things from a broader perspective and consider an issue for it's longer term impact.

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Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 21, 2009 at 10:31 am

LM does usually have a NAMBY attitude - BUT - I recently visited the SCVWD in their rosewood? paneled board room and can see where she is coming from on the excess $$ angle. It is pretty amazing some of the "pet projects" (multi- million education pavilion next to a relative's mobile home park) that they spend our tax money on. On that aspect of LM's comments I can especially agree!

PS - I put in my $0.03 worth at the 3 min public comment portion of the SCVWD agenda item on the 'education' project. A lot of money to support a few metal signboards!

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Posted by Nelson
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 21, 2009 at 12:15 pm

I applaud Laura for asking the tough questions. We must remember that once park land is torn up & paved over & converted to other uses, it will never go back to its original state. Artificial turf? Aren't there some studies out there that question the wisdom of using it? I've read about cases of severe skin infections in athletes after they hurt/gouge themselves. I've read about the downside of all the chemicals in the artificial turf, both in its manufacturing and its offgassing after installation. Anyone studied its effects on global warming? Has there been any consideration of breaking up some of the concrete creek channels to let water soak back into the earth naturally? This could have a number of benefits.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 21, 2009 at 1:17 pm

A fifteen foot deep baseball field with artificial turf? Has anyone gone out to McKelvey and stood near home plate on an 85 degree day. The temperature in that area is much warmer than in the outfield. Now the plan is to sink the field 15 feet and put articicial turn on it. I can only imagine what it will be like down there in the summer heat.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Please excuse my spelling and lack of punctuation in the last post! My point is there will be no wind to cool things off down there. It will blow over the top, and that field below will get extremely hot.

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Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 21, 2009 at 5:08 pm

"How did we get to this point where the Water District is controlling the project?" she asked. "They've already redrawn our park," she said and city staff "haven't even looked at" the plans.
"Who gave them that right?" she continued. "It's pretty outrageous."

The Water District is in kind of a "catch 22" situation. They were given the responsibility for flood control in our area, but historically had no authority to control development. So new subdivisions and new "McMansions" that have an impact on stormwater runoff were allowed to drain freely to the local channels and nobody was concerned about capacity. Now the creek channels are too small and confined in narrow right-of-ways. There are no more easy answers to protect the downstream properties.

Floods do happen in this area. It is just a matter of time before a big rain hits and the statistics win. Please work with the Water District. Be glad they have money to offer such nice mitigations. I love McKelvey, but it could use a well-planned renovation. It seems like a win-win to protect life and property.

- Disclaimer: I'm a registered Professional Engineer and a former floodplain manager. I have also acted as a liason to the Water District at my current place of employment at another local municipality.

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Posted by SG
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 23, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Clearly a win-win. The artificial turfs of today are far better than astro turf. MVHS, LAHS, and GMS have artificial turf. The WD is not controlling the project and is not taking away public space. We still get to use the area and get new fields. Whats the loss here. The WD has worked with council, staff and the baseball people. unfortunately some NIMBY people like to draw attention to themselves to make it look like they are looking out for the neighborhood. As for sinking a baseball field, try stanford, A's or Giants games. It's very common.

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Posted by MM
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Nelson, you raise some good questions, but-- as far as infections from artificial turf, could be. But not out of the question with natural turf, either. I worked with someone who cut his toe on a blade of real grass and it got so infected he walked around with an antibiotic drip for a couple of weeks. Artificial turf is in use on both high school football fields, I haven't heard of the football players having issues. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but it may not be much more risk than natural.

For tearing up the concrete creek channels -- this also sounds like a good idea, but do you remember when San Francisquito creek in Menlo Park/Palo Alto flooded in the early 90's? Lots of homes had flood damage. That creek is natural, and the Army Corps of Engineers recommended, to prevent a repeat, clearing them out and lining them with concrete. The creek was so choked with underbrush that it impeded the water, hence the flood. The residents didn't like that idea, they love their natural creek for its beauty. But, natural creeks often take lots of maintenance to keep them free-flowing, which would end up costing a lot of taxpayer money, so no one wants to pay for it.

No easy solutions to anything.

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