Throughout the hearing, the Borough President repeatedly complimented the USTA and their supporters and consistently interrupted speakers who criticized her, the USTA or the process itself. She also defended her legacy on park related issues during her twelve year tenure.
Ironically proof of at least part of this legacy was right outside the window. Attendees looking out of the second story hearing room could easily see the area where more than two dozen Cherry trees were needlessly destroyed to make room for a new $ 17 million dollar atrium Ms. Marshall spearheaded using tax payer funds.
After the hour-long presentation by the USTA, the public participation portion of the meeting began.
Queens resident Ben Haber testifying on Thursday. "If you and a group of politicians who for years have not only failed to address the park's needs with tax dollars but have alienated it piece by piece, support the USTA's application, it comes as no surprise," said Ben Haber.
She ignored the most important point: that it is the City's job to provide recreational opportunities for children, the exorbitant prices to play at the facility, and that giving away parkland to a private developer in exchange for an extremely limited amount of access to our pubic parkland is not sound policy.
In addition to increasing attendance at the U.S. Open by 10,000 people daily.
"How can you reconcile commandeering Roosevelt Avenue like this, with the simultaneous traffic to be generated by a huge mall, right here?
The expansion would utilize an additional acre of public parkland, 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.
Various neighborhood residents who serve on community boards, and civic group representatives also spoke out against the expansion including Phil Konigberg, Ed Westley, Rich Hellenbrecht, president of Queens Civic Congress, and Jon Torodash.
The Borough President refused to allow State Senator Tony Avella's representative the opportunity to speak. Senator Avella has been the only elected official to consistently oppose the USTA expansion - as well as the other proposed projects in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park - and giveaway of public parkland. After waiting more than two hours, Deputy Legislative Council Dawa Jung handed over the Senator's written testimony and left.