Tuesday, May 7, 2013

USTA Shell Game -Tennis Giant Hopes To Swap Parkland For Parkland In Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Land Scam. The USTA is trying to get away with swapping 5 tennis courts (bottom) 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 will provide cover for the elected officials to approve the expansion. 

Some elected officials are also pushing to establish a third conservancy for the park funded with proceeds from the businesses like the USTA who occupy the park.

United States Tennis Association to Replace Parkland in Flushing Meadows Corona Park
QUEENS, NY – May 7, 2013 – The United States Tennis Association today announced it has reached an agreement to return to New York City a portion of its currently leased Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (NTC) land in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in exchange for the parkland it proposes to add as part of its improvement plan for the NTC. The USTA will surrender 1.56 acres of parkland in return for 0.68 acres of parkland, the latter being mostly an existing asphalt road.
"At the outset of the project, the City suggested that park improvements would result in a more meaningful degree of public benefit than an in-kind replacement for the 0.68 acres that is proposed for alienation. However, understanding that every inch of parkland is precious and after seeking input and recommendations from the local Queens communities and elected officials, the USTA, in consultation with the Parks Department, decided it was in the best interest of all parties to propose a parkland swap,” said Daniel Zausner, COO of the National Tennis Center.
The replacement parkland, which is two parcels totaling 1.56 acres, and is more than double the land it will replace, is located east of David Dinkins Circle. The parcels include 0.75 acres of passive open space accessible to any member of the public and 0.81 acres of space for active recreation containing five tennis courts.
“We are pleased that the USTA has agreed to replace parkland,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras, who represents Corona and Flushing Meadows Corona Park, home to the USTA. “It is the right thing to do. Our community has too little green space and losing even an inch would be felt by the working people who depend on Flushing Meadows Corona Park. As the City Council begins to consider this proposal, we are ready to work with the USTA to address our community’s other major concerns.”

“Today’s announcement is welcome news and shows just how much we value every acre of parkland here in Queens,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. “My support for the USTA proposal was conditioned on the need to replace any alienated land in our borough’s flagship park.”

Marshall added: “I fully recognize that each year Flushing becomes the tennis capital of the world when the US Open is played here, and that the USTA provides a multitude of programs on and off the grounds of the NTC. I also know that our parks are urban oases that provide natural beauty and precious green space for us all. I am delighted with today’s announcement.” 

The two parcels were added to the NTC lease in 1993 and would be returned to Flushing Meadows Corona Park for recreational use under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks and Recreation. The NTC lease would also be amended, so these parcels would not be part of the premises.
The USTA would maintain and repair the five courts, at it has done in the past, and would have usage during the US Open and, possibly, other major tennis events.
“This is a positive step by the USTA and the Parks Department,” said NYS Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry, who represents Corona. “I look forward to continued progress on this important project.”

The USTA’s Strategic Vision, which calls for the least amount of additional parkland possible, 0.68 acres, will ensure the NTC remains a top public recreational facility and world class spectator venue and also continues being an economic catalyst for Queens and the City of New York.

Since 1978, the USTA has invested more than $500 million of its own funds into the NTC, and this project, which will primarily entail the replacement and renovation of aging facilities and infrastructures that have reached the end of their useful lives, will require the USTA to add an additional $500 million to its original investment.

“The Parks Department is proud to host the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the largest public tennis facility in the United States, in Flushing Meadows Corona Park,” said Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. “Throughout the year the USTA helps sponsor countless hours of free and discounted programs for children, teaching them the great game of tennis and the health benefits of an active lifestyle.”

She added: “The proposed replacement parkland will provide a benefit to park visitors and help to ensure that Flushing Meadows Corona Park continues to serve as a world stage for the US Open tournament, one of New York City’s premier sporting and cultural events.”

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About USTA
The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the United States and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 785,000 members, it invests 100 percent of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Emirates Airline US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the United States, and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA philanthropic entity, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and helps underserved youth and people with disabilities.
For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com, "like" the official Facebook page, facebook.com/usta, or follow @usta on Twitter.

Read More:

Queens Chronicle - May 9, 2013 - By Joseph Orovic 

Times Ledger - May 9, 2013 - By Joe Anuta 

Queens Courier - May 7, 2013 - By Terence M. Cullen 

New York Daily News  - May 7, 2013 - By Clare Trapasso   

Wall Street Journal via Associated Press - May 7, 2013  

1 comment:

  1. Build the tennis expansion above Corona Yard.