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Subject: Housing & Environmental Justice
Type: Media Coverage

New York City Council Approves USTA Expansion Approval

The New York City Council voted overwhelmingly and approved the USTA’s plan to expand into an additional .68 acres in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for the US Open after the it agreed to return 1.56 acres back to the park.

The USTA leases the land from the city.

The City Council approved the legislation 47-1 margin, which will allow the USTA to replace and/or renovate infrastructure and its facilities.

The Planning Commission’s decision comes on the heels of a similar approval by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, who decided to back the $500-million expansion in April.

Marshall had also called for the USTA to donate $15 million toward park upkeep,

“We are very pleased that the City Council passed the legislation,” said David Haggerty, Chairman, CEO and President of the USTA. “The updates and improvements to the [USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center] will enhance the usage of the tennis center for local residents, visitors and professional and recreational tennis players while also preserving the US Open Tennis Championships as a world-renowned event.”

As part of its $500 million plan, the USTA is planning to build a new Louis Armstrong Stadium and a new Grandstand court, which won’t sit in the same area where it is now, so as part of the plan, a new pedestrian walkway will be constructed to connect the Grandstand to Court 17. That’s where the 0.68 acres of additional space comes in.

City officials and parks advocates have negotiated with the USTA for various concessions including more than $10 million for capital projects. The USTA will help establish the FMCP (Flushing Meadows Corona Park) Alliance, which will be dedicated to improving all aspects of the park moving forward.

“We are confident that in partnership with the local Queens communities and elected officials, we will ensure a better Flushing Meadows Corona Park and National Tennis Center,” said Gordon Smith, Executive Director and COO of the USTA.

Council Member Julissa Ferreras, who represents Corona and East Elmhurst added: “I can say with confidence that we will all benefit from this expansion. I am very proud that my community got engaged and demanded a voice in this process. I look forward to working with the USTA to improve the park for everyone.”

Holly Leicht, executive director of New Yorkers for Parks, called the approval a “new era” for Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Javier Valdes, a member of the Fairness Coalition of Queens, added that the agreement “will put Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the surrounding community on a more solid footing for the future.”

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