On Thursday Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed State Alienation legislation that will allow New York City to hand over two-thirds of an acre in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to the U.S. Tennis Association. Instead of building on its existing foot print, the legislation allows the USTA to destroy hundreds of trees and further encroach in the already crowded park.
The USTA plans to build a 15,000-seat stadium and an 8,000-seat stadium, as well as two parking garages. The proposed project would remove more than 400 trees. The proposed expansion project adds 0.94 acres of public parkland - not .68 acres - to the National Tennis Center (NTC) site under a long-term lease, including the 0.68-acre Project Area that would be leased pursuant to the application, plus 0.26-acres of park land that was authorized for disposition to the USTA on August 2, 1993.
As part of its $500 million expansion plan, the USTA will tear down two stadiums inside the 46-acre site it leases from the city and build two new ones, a parking structure for VIP's. The plan, (above) includes a retractable roof on the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
They expect an additional 80,000 people which not only increases traffic in the surrounding community which is already a nightmare during the U.S Open but also impacts Flushing Meadows-Corona Park which is already severely affected by the USTA during the event. The City allows thousands of cars to park on grass for instance.
The USTA has been allowed to double its park land holdings since 1993 when they were permitted to expand from 21 acres to 42.
The tennis giant will reap billions over the course of the lease while giving back just $ 5 million for capital improvements and a few hundred thousand dollars annually towards the park for twenty years, in a poorly negotiated deal elected officials made.
"It is disgraceful these electeds are willing to sell out the community and give away additional parkland in exchange for money that is supposed to come from the government. It is their responsibility to fund public parks not private businesses. And Ferreras is on the City Council's parks committee no less." - Afredo Centola of Save Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
Replacement Park Shell Game
"The signing today…. (returns) to the New York Department of Parks of 1.56 acres of land for public recreational use," the Governor's press release states while omitting that those facilities are already available for public use.
The elected officials allowed the USTA to get away with swapping 5 tennis courts (below) that the public already has access to for 50 weeks of the year as "replacement" in exchange for allowing them to build on an acre of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to accommodate a $ 500 million expansion. Apparently the USTA assumed that reporters wouldn't bother to fact check the story. And as they had under the previous agreement the USTA would still retain exclusive usage rights to the land "during the US Open and, possibly, other major tennis events."
The "replacement" of the land also provided cover for the elected officials to approve the expansion.
- Geoffrey Croft
- Geoffrey Croft
Every single tree seen here and below in these photos will be needlessly destroyed in order to build the new USTA facility. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.
Corey Sipkin/New York Daily News)
New York Daily News - September 5, 2013 - By Glenn Blain
USTA Shell Game -Tennis Giant Hopes To Swap Parkland For Parkland
In Flushing Meadows Corona Park
A Walk In The Park - May 7, 2013 - By Geoffrey Croft