USTA Wins Approval For Queens Venue Plan, Committing $10M To Park Maintenance
The N.Y. City Council "approved a plan Wednesday to allow the use of parkland to replace two of three tennis stadiums and add 7,000 seats along with parking and walkways" at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, ending a "yearlong battle over a move to expand" the home to the U.S. Open, according to Michaelle Bond of the N.Y. TIMES. The approval, by a 47-to-1 vote, came after the USTA "agreed to help set up an alliance for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park," to commit $10M for "park maintenance and programming, to return to the city more land than it is taking and to increase its community outreach." The USTA also will "create an annual job fair for Queens residents and try to help local businesses benefit" from the U.S. Open. In addition, it will "help develop programs, like a community festival during the Open and low-cost tennis coaching for area families" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/25). In N.Y., Durkin & Trapasso write the USTA's $10M donation helped achieve "nearly unanimous approval of its expansion plan," which will allow the organization to "build new tennis stadiums on two-thirds of an acre" in the park. The donation is meant to "set up a public-private alliance to maintain the overcrowded park." The USTA "plans to tear down two aging stadiums," built for the '64 World's Fair, inside the 46-acre site. It also will "create expanded walkways between facilities to ease pedestrian congestion and turn a pair of parking lots into two-story and three-story parking garages" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/25).