Efforts are moving forward to turn San Anselmo’s Memorial Park into a flood detention basin.
The project will involve lowering the field at Memorial Park and building berms around the edges, so the park – which would continue to consist of athletic fields and open space – could be filled with water to prevent flooding. See examples of sports fields in Bay Area community parks that Mill Valley-based firm Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey turned into detention basins in the photos at the right.
The Memorial Park basin is part of efforts to avoid another “100-year” flood similar to what drowned the area twice in 30 years. Officials don’t know exactly what the basin would look like yet, but the public can see preliminary designs by San Rafael-based landscape firm Abey Arnold Associates at a Dec. 3 meeting in San Anselmo (see more details about the meeting below).
The San Anselmo Town Council approved a funding agreement for the project between the town and County Flood Control District Zone 9 at its Nov. 13 meeting and gave Town Manager Debbie Stutsman the green light to submit a grant application to the California Department of Water Resources. A staff report is attached at the right.
The council also OK’d Stutsman authorizing an $89,200 contract with the San Rafael-based Stetson Engineers to help the town apply for the grant, which is due Jan. 18.
Stutsman said that since the grant would fund half of the project – rough estimates say it could cost $7 million – town officials are planning on picking up the speed for the funds.
But the project is still in a preliminary stage, Stutsman told Patch.
“There is much, much, much work to do. We’re getting started because this grant opportunity is a big one and we don’t want to miss it,” she said. “We have a lot to do with the community and we want to be sure we address all the issues that the community brings up and that we have answers to all the questions.”
More than 30 people attended a stakeholders meeting on Nov. 3, according to Stutsman. The entire community was invited, with special emphasis on the park stakeholders, which includes; San Francisco Blvd. residents; Parkside Apartments residents; those who use the Log Cabin or playground; and sports groups, including tennis, baseball, soccer and softball athletes.
At the meeting, some residents asked why the town couldn’t enlarge San Anselmo Creek or rebuild bridges instead of having a basin. Another question revolved around how the detention basin would be designed for an earthquake and flood happening at the same time.
“Work done between now and the grant application deadline of January is only the first step and doesn’t set a design in stone,” Stutsman wrote in her regular column on Patch.
The Marin County Department of Public Works has put six monitoring wells (small holes that are roughly one inch in diameter) in the park that will let officials study the amount of groundwater in the park throughout the winter.
Stutsman said the monitoring wells will let officials know if a detention basin is even feasible at the site – there could already be too much groundwater or the soil may not be right.
OTHER BASINS PROPOSED FOR FAIRFAX
The basin is one of the four detention locations that have been marked as top priority projects in county’s 10-year work program. They are part of a $130 million effort.
Work is already underway on another flood detention basin at Phoenix Lake, Stutsman said, which will involve increasing the lake’s capacity.
The other two proposed locations for basins are Lefty Gomez Field at White Hill Middle School and Loma Alta, an open space above White Hill Middle School.
The county flood control district will reimburse some of the funds the town uses on the Memorial Park project.
The efforts started after the flood of Dec. 31, 2005. In June 2007, Ross Valley property owners voted for a fee that will raise roughly $2.2 million for 20 years.
NEW FLOOD MAPS ALSO IN THE WORKS
Earlier this year, FEMA announced it is creating new flood maps, which may impact how much San Anselmo and Fairfax residents can build on their property.
The new maps may also change flood insurance rates and requirements for homeowners.
We created a guide to help you read the maps and see how it may impact you.
The 411: Community members can see preliminary ideas of proposed basins at a meeting on Monday Dec. 3, at 7 p.m., in the San Anselmo Town Hall Council Chambers.
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