City Council Approves USTA Expansion

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By Luis Gronda

Staff Writer

The City Council has approved the proposed United States Tennis Association expansion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park after the tennis company agreed to give money to the park.

The council voted 47-1 to approve the project, with the lone dissenting vote being Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone).

The USTA will now to expand the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center by 0.68 acres after receiving the City Council’s approval. That plan includes renovating Louis Armstrong Stadium and moving the Grandstand stadium to park of the new area that it would take up if approved by the City.

As part of the deal for the expansion, The USTA and the City reached an agreement to provide the park with $10.5 million according to Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) and New Yorkers 4 Parks. The money will go towards different aspects of the park, including $5 million for capital projects, $350,000 for three years of maintenance and programming at FMCP and $200,000 for the following 20 years for aforementioned maintenance and programming.

The Fairness Coalition of Queens, a union of civic groups advocating for parkland in the Borough, also released a statement expressing their joy about their agreement.

“For too long FMCP has been ignored and underfunded. Today, that legacy begins to change. This is the first major investment from a tenant of the park in decades. We believe this will be a win-win partnership. This agreement can lead to FMCP finally reaching its potential as a world-class park,” its statement read in part.

The USTA also released a statement on the Council approval and the agreement.

“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, Chief Operating Officer of the USTA.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, lgronda@queenstribune.com, or @luisgronda