Let's talk about Almaden Lake

A blog by the Santa Clara Valley Water District to track work and community input

Youth sports leagues support playing fields as option for Almaden Lake

stock-footage-soccer-ball-on-the-grass-of-football-field

Soccer fields at Almaden Lake? It’s just one suggestion being kicked around.

Citing a lack of playing fields in the Almaden Valley to serve the estimated 4,000 children who annually play soccer, softball and baseball, board members for those sports leagues have unveiled a vision to bring a “much needed” resource to the community.

At an April 18 presentation at the Almaden Community Center, the leagues asked the project team to consider adding playing fields to any alternative that contains park area. Dave Mitchell, parks planning manager from the city of San Jose’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services and Rayshelle Brant from San Jose City Councilman Johnny Khamis’ office also attended the meeting.

Board members with the Almaden Valley Youth Soccer Association, Almaden Valley Girls Softball League and Almaden Little League presented the image below as a possible option. It adds three baseball/softball diamonds and four soccer fields to the mix of Feasible Alternative #5, which calls for new park and open space to the east and west sides of a restored Alamitos Creek.

“We just want to get the issue on paper so that moving forward, if this results in some additional turf, we want it known that it’d be a great spot for youth sports fields,” said Mark Osborn, a board member with the Almaden Little League.

New-Alternative-Sports-Fields

The suggested look of Almaden Lake with sports fields presented to the project team.

The presentation is indicative of the range of stakeholders who have an interest in the new design for the 32-acre water body. Some people want to keep as much of the lake’s water features as possible, while reps for the leagues see an opportunity to fill a void.

“Use of the lakes for swimming and fishing was minimal when it was open for those activities. Other nearby lakes, such as Vasona, provide better recreational opportunities,” said Andrew Hogg, Youth Soccer Association board member and field liaison director. “And the current shortage of playing fields in Almaden Valley needs a solution that is geographically close to those children who are participating.”

A 2008 Community Sports Field Study for the city of San Jose concluded that the city “did not have a sufficient number of fields” to”meet the sports needs of the community, prompting it to enter into a partnership with the San Jose Unified School District to utilize their grounds for games. According to the league’s power point presentation to the water district project team, the leagues use 11 schools for soccer, six for baseball and three for softball diamonds. Only one field used for soccer, at TJ Martin Park, is a city sponsored field.

“It comes down to the fact that there are no parks within the Almaden area zip code that can house actual sports fields. We just don’t have enough to accommodate all who want to play,” Osborn said.

The project team of Rechelle Blank and Ngoc Nguyen advised the leagues to work with the city of San Jose’s Park and Recreation staff, Park and Recreation Commission and city council to identify those possible recreational uses since the city is the lead agency for items related to parks and recreation.

Should the option calling for expanded open space emerge as a favored alternative, the city would work with the water district, providing it their plan for future recreational use and cost sharing ideas for conducting a California Environmental Equality Act evaluation as part of any joint use agreement.

17 comments on “Youth sports leagues support playing fields as option for Almaden Lake

  1. John
    April 30, 2013

    hate it

    • Susan Douglaa
      April 30, 2013

      I agree with John!!!

  2. Bernadette
    April 30, 2013

    For those of us who LIVE here and bought property overlooking the lake, turning our neighborhood into a playground is completely unacceptable. Traffic studies need to be done as Saturday mornings would become a soccer mom drop off bonanza in our back yard and the City would need to pay for security to keep them from parking in the four condo complexes hugging the lake. The San Jose Mercury News recently revealed that there is an anonymous doner who has $4 Million to give to the project mentioned uniting with San Jose Unified School District to convert the fields at Allen and Steinbeck into two soccer fields. That is one block from the lake. You can play there. – Or you can build us a lake there. Or you can play soccer in Los Gatos, where you advise that people who love the lake go to recreate. Property Owners near the lake MUST be consulted. An informal but extensive poll some of us have been conducting within our complexes and at the lake has revealed ONLY Support for Alternative One.

  3. Jan hageman
    April 30, 2013

    I think it is a great idea! and I do not have young children. we all need to support the kids.Maybe some additional bocci ball courts also.

  4. Got Bikes
    April 30, 2013

    Why not a Sports Complex….Soccer/Football/Baseball fields, Volley Ball Fields, Skate Park….etc

    Almaden Valley should make it as inviting to all including our children…….

  5. Susan Douglass
    April 30, 2013

    1st, I have poled over 1,000 homeowners around the lake and have not found anyone that agrees that anything other than a lake is an acceptable option. Optin 1 to be exact! The statement is completely false regarding there being no soccer fields in the area. There is a multiple Soccer Field complex being built less than 1 mile from Almaden Lake right now by a $4,000,000.00 donation. It will be for the entire communities use, 7days a week, all day on weekends & weekdays, after 4:00pm. Google Santa Teresa Soccer Donation for details.
    Lastly- to say the 1,000 + homeowners would not be adversely effected, or our property values by trading a Lake for a sports complex is neither honest nor an intelligent statement.
    It is clearly a selfish opinion, and the fact is, that the age groups of 1-100 use it as a lake for their enjoyment. Rather than a select few that live in another neighborhood. May I suggest the soccer clubs go to Las Gatos, themselves to play ball, at Vasonna as you suggest we do, instead, and leave our property values and the lake we call a FRONT YARD alone.
    My property taxes not only fund the lake, the SCVWD, they also fund the schools and parks children currently already have for soccer. The Lake is for the enjoyment and daily use of all ages and countless uses.

  6. Ariane
    May 1, 2013

    Want to do something for the kids? Help retain the gem of natural beauty that is Lake Almaden. Evolve it into a trophy of appreciation and education.

  7. wdcommunications
    May 7, 2013

    Thank you all for your comments. The water district is voluntarily addressing the mandate posed on us by the 2008 RWCQB Basin Plan, which at this time is allowing us to explore solutions and to work with the community towards identifying alternatives. Ultimately, we will take the community comments into considerations, along with the finding presented in the CEQA environmental document, to recommend a plan to the district’s board of directors for their approval.

  8. Susan
    May 7, 2013

    I am aware the SCVWD is attempting to address the mandate posed on them by the 2008 RWCQB Basin Plan. I would like to see it published here, along with the finding presented in the CEQA environmental document. I would also request complete transparency.

    • wdcommunications
      May 10, 2013

      Susan, the blog program does not accomodate the posting of the report here. However, we will post the report on the water district’s project web page so that it can be accessed by any member of the public. The water district values complete transparency and will make sure to inform you when the report is online.

      • Susan
        May 10, 2013

        Thank You!

  9. Betty
    May 14, 2013

    The lake park was never intended to be used for organized sports. It was intended to be used as a water park for boating swimming walking fishing and and other leisure activities. There are plenty of available and new places being built for sports. Leave the lake a lake with water for all to enjoy.

  10. Susan
    May 17, 2013

    The Master Plan for Almaden Lake pg 10 & 11 include goals & objectives for Almaden Lake. Included are the following:
    * Develope a water-oriented large scale City Wide Park Facility for leisure type activities such as swimming, sailing, fishing, walking, picknicking for a wide range of age groups.
    *To minimize the use of this facility for organized athletic programs such as baseball, football and soccer.

    The Master Plan for Almaden Lake can be found at:

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/876

  11. Tony Moses
    May 22, 2013

    As a parent of children who play sports in the valley, and as a person who has played outdoor sports as an adult.. this is a tremendous opportunity to build a small “sportsplex” at Lake Almaden .. It would be a great accomplishment for San jose if they could create a “Sportsplex” modeling some of the features of the Morgan hillsportsplex (scaled down of course) which has both a combined “Water Park” for kids and families (replacing the Almaden lake beach) and Olympic Pool area (for the swim teams in area and local public enjoyment) , and adding a few fields for sports 2-4 ( to make sure traffic does not get out of hand, No tournaments will help!) . ….You need only drive down any weekend to Morgan hill and see how much it is used. …On the other side… I feel for those that like to look at an “open lake” for your views but truth is if Almaden “Lake” park is re-tooled with a “good use” and “a master plan” with emaphasis of perimeter trails and quality landscaping, it will add to the ambiance of the neighborhood not detract.. ……The city can’t really afford an open lake anymore.. especially one that is toxic and will cost untold amounts of money to keep open for the enjoyment of just a few…

  12. Betty
    May 28, 2013

    As a realtor Tony Moses you know what turning the lake into sports fields would destroy the value of the homes situated around the lake. It’s obvious that you did not take into consideration any or all of the neighbors that bought property to live near a beautiful peaceful lake (as opposed to a noisy traffic producing soccer field).
    Furthermore it is written in the Master Plan for the lake that it is for LEISURE activities such as boating sailing and swimming and it is to be a water dominant park. It is not and was never meant for organized sports. There is currently a huge sports complex being built in downtown San Jose, as well as new soccer fields roughly a mile from the lake. The city stated that they cannot afford to maintain the area should the lake be filled.

    Your idea of a sports complex caters to the few, and it would be tragic if the lake were filled. A great many people of all demographics enjoy the lake as it is now and for the uses it was planned.

  13. Suzi Knowles
    August 6, 2013

    Please keep Almaden Lake as close to what it is now. It is a wonderful place to escape the noise and crowds of the Silicn Valley. I have kids too, and they like Almaden Lake the way it is! They like to ride their bikes around it, taking our dog for a walk, and they like gong to picnics there. Some kids don’t play sports, and they need areas to pursue their interests! One of the reasons we bought our home was to be in walking distance of the lake.

  14. Lee
    December 24, 2013

    Hello! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly
    enjoy reading your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover
    the same topics? Thank you!

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