Bay Meadows | Community Park

San Mateo, CA

A citywide destination for sports and recreation and a neighborhood common ground, featuring a stormwater wetland that provides habitat and flood control.

The community park is a 12-acre city sports park, operated by the City of San Mateo. It is an interim park until the city is able to invest in redesigning it, adding amenities such as a swim center. In the meantime, this park adds immediate benefits to the city and neighborhood in an economical way.

The design features include a promenade for jogging, walking, and learning how to bike, and league-size soccer fields and a baseball diamond to meet the city’s significant demand for recreation space. A large-scale, mounded earthwork creates spatial definition. Throughout any given week, the park has many lives for the neighborhood and the city. On the weekdays, morning walkers and exercisers give way to kids at soccer practice and movie nights, while on weekends, barbecue areas and lawn spaces are busy with parties, food trucks, and festivals.

Between the park and the main road is a thriving wetland that is the largest element of the neighborhood’s stormwater management system. The wetland pond is a final filter for all site stormwater, which is directed here, as well as an entry park to the community, rich with vegetation and wildlife and surrounded by a trail for walking and jogging. The wetland and stormwater system also serves a broader city benefit, absorbing here the flooding that happened previously in low lying lands of San Mateo two miles away. In the event of a major (5-year) storm event, the detention pond and community park holds excess stormwater, and then releases it slowly to avoid flooding downstream.