Wednesday, March 6, 2013

CB 3 Committees Reject USTA Expansion - After Earlier CB Trouble Confirming Meeting

USTA Flushing Meadows plan puts park’s treatment in spotlight 1

The USTA's $ 500 million dollar expansion would utilize an additional acre of public parkland - not .68 acres - remove more than 400 trees,  bring in an additional 80,000 people, and increase traffic in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park which is already severely impacted by the USTA.  The USTA has been allowed to double its park land holdings since 1993 when they were permitted to expand from 21 acres to 42.  

Last year the USTA generated $ 275 million dollars and gave the city back just $ 2.5 million and while sending millions in "profits" across America.

The full CB3 board holds its public hearing and vote on March 14th.


By Geoffrey Croft

Various Community Board 3 committees voted to reject the USTA's  $ 500 million expansion on Tuesday night. 

A joint meeting of CB3 committees assigned to the proposel -  Parks,  Land Use, Transportation and Business Development,  voted 11 to 9 recommending no to the full board on the USTA application.  

The committees' no vote will be accompanied by an upcoming list of recommendations the CB wants but which the USTA has not committed. The list to going to be drafted between now and the full board meeting on March 14. The majority of committee members felt that a "No" recommendation will be taken more seriously when it came time for the elected officials to negotiate with USTA, than a "Yes" with conditions because the "Yes" is all that is noticed.

The vote happened less than 24 hours after Community Board 7 took a completely different tact - approve the project without having any guaranteed concessions from the USTA or the Parks Department. 

On Monday evening Community Board 7's Park Committee overwhelmingly voted to approve the USTA's expansion. The approval however was conditioned upon the tennis giant establishing a capital fund of $15 million and an annual maintenance fund of $ 300, 000 to be used exclusively for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. 

Community Board Refusing To Confirm Meeting

It is a violation of the Open Meeting Law to refuse to provide basic information regarding public meetings.
Three people called Community Board 3 to find out whether there was a meeting involving the USTA and whether or not there was going to be a vote.  All three were denied that information by CB employees including by the Chair person, Marta Lebreton, according to multiple sources.  The board refused to confirm or deny the scheduling of meeting and instead informed people of the March 14th meeting.

One employee said she was forbidden to give out the info and said she was  "not allowed to say."   This is very disturbing. 

Giovanna Reid, the board's District Manager confirmed at 4:59 -  90 minutes prior to the start - that the meeting was happening after receiving additional calls including from other media. 

I asked Ms. Reid if they were going to be voting at the meeting and she replied "no," twice.

When I replied that that was not accurate she suddenly changed her story and replied,

"Oh well yes that is the plan, they are going to vote," she said.
It was raised once again, although other committee meetings were listed on the website this one was not.  Ms. Reid replied she did not know anything about it and that they have a webmaster who tends to those issues. 

Public meetings are open to the public.  It is a very serious matter when any community board or its chairperson deliberately refuses to disclose facts about a meeting that are necessary for the public to plan to attend it. 

Read More:

A Walk In The Park - March 5, 2013 - By Geoffrey Croft

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