Capital project
Lefty Gomez Dual-Use Facility at White Hill Middle School
Watershed Reference

Documents indicated by bold text are below.

Update by Supervisor Katie Rice - Winter 2016

Questions & Answers Document - 2/2/16

What We Heard at the February 4, 2014 public meeting

Curious what other dual-use facilities look like that are similar to what is under consideration at Lefty Gomez Field? Take a short visual tour (pdf) of two public parks and playfields in Windsor and Napa. In December 2014, the Windsor park helped prevent flooding when it partially filled for 6 hours and then drained back into the creek.

About the Project

This project would improve Lefty Gomez Field at White Hill Middle School in Fairfax to allow it to serve dual community uses: White Hill School and community recreation and flood flow detention. The improved field would provide much needed temporary water storage during infrequent, but severe, flood events such as the ones experienced in 1982 and 2005 that caused tens of millions of dollars of damage to private and public property in Fairfax and the lower Ross Valley. The limited in-channel capacity of Fairfax Creek causes flooding in Fairfax during flood events, and the improved field would provide temporary water storage, thereby reducing creek overflow and downstream flooding. The project would also pursue opportunities for preserving and improving the field's current function as a recreational resource both prior to and after its temporary use as floodwater storage.

Artistic Rendering of Conceptual Lefty Gomez Dual Use Facility
Artistic Rendering of Conceptual Lefty Gomez Dual Use Facility

Status & Next Steps

The project is currently in the Initial Feasibility Assessment phase. Project concepts are being developed in order to assess initial feasibility. Prior conceptual plans of the field have been developed to assess the potential feasibility and to consider initial issues and opportunities at the site.

Community-driven process to develop refined concepts:

Design phases

Project design would begin as part of a community-driven process with multiple opportunities for public participation and input on different design alternatives. Design alternatives would be developed to: 
  • maintain the quality of adjoining neighborhoods;
  • ensure field design meets school and community needs;
  • ensure compliance with local, state, and federal environmental laws and regulations; 
  • provide opportunities for consistent public participation & input at key decision points; and,
  • protect the public's health and safety.

A preferred design alternative would then be finalized for possible construction. A preliminary schedule and list of known upcoming meetings is provided below.

Preliminary Schedule (Pending Funding & Project Approval)

Project Phase

Typical Duration

Initial Feasibility Assessment

6-9 months

Environmental Review

6-9 months

Selection of Preferred Alternative

1-3 months

Design Development & Final Design

18-24 months

Construction of Preferred Alternative

18-24 months

Total Project Duration

4-6 Years


Past Public Meetings

February 4, 2016: Approximately 120 community members gathered on Thursday evening at White Hill Middle School in Fairfax to learn about the program and hear how a dual-use facility at Lefty Gomez Field could both improve existing grass play fields & help reduce flooding. Attendees asked several questions, shared ideas & concerns, and learned how to be part of the community engagement process. View the meeting flyerpress releasepresentationWhat We Heard summary of input & comments, and video.

January 27, 2015: Approximately 25 residents gathered on Tuesday evening, January 27, 2015 at the Canon Swim & Tennis Club House to hear updates and provide input on the Loma Alta and the Lefty Gomez Dual Use Detention Basins concepts. There was excellent audience participation during the presentation, and there will be future meetings that will provide additional opportunities for public input. View the presentation.

May 19, 2014: Approximately 50 residents gathered on the evening of May 19, 2014 at White Hill Middle School to learn about the Ross Valley Watershed Program and conceptual detention basins near White Hill Middle School. View the presentation below.

Background Documents

Some of these documents and concept plans may be outdated and superceded. Please contact the project manager to confirm the most current plans for this project.

2011 Technical Memorandum No. 2 on Detention Basins - Capital Improvement Plan Study. Dated January 27, 2011. The Lefty Gomez Detention Basin plan view is on page 12 of 24. Pertinent attachments to Lefty Gomez Tech Memo #2 are linked below for convenience:

  • Attachment B to Technical Memo #2 - Operations Plan of Ross Valley Detention Basins
  • Attachment E to Technical Memo #2 - Geotechnical Evaluation of Ross Valley Detention Basins

2011 Issues and Opportunities map. January 28, 2011. This map was produced in 2011 as part of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to assess the initial issues and opportunities at Lefty Gomez Field. This was a high-level look at feasibility.

See videos of the study presentation.

Complete documents and plates for the Study for Flood Damage Reduction and Creek Management for Flood Control Zone 9/Ross Valley are available here.

Draft Conceptual Plan View by URS. April 23, 2014. This document was also attached to the November 2015 Flow Reduction Study (35.9MB) in Appendix B.

Final Engineering Analysis and Conceptual Design Report and Update of Piezometer Data Memorandum by URS. April 17, 2015. This document includes geotechnical investigations, sediment loading calculations, and an updated plan and cost estimate. 

Cost & Funding 

The project is preliminarily estimated to cost $6.4 million (per the 2011 Capital Improvement Plan Study for Flood Damage Reduction and Creek Management for Flood Control Zone 9/Ross Valley). Further development of the project details and project feasibility may result in increased estimated cost. Possible funding sources include the Ross Valley Flood Control Zone 9 Storm Drainage Fee and other potential grant funding sources.

Implementing Agency & Partners

Marin County Flood Control & Water Conservation District in cooperation with the Ross Valley School District, & the Town of Fairfax. 


The project manager for the Marin County Flood Control & Water Conservation District is Russ Eberwein, P.E., Senior Civil Engineer (