USTA Open to Replacing Parkland to Get Support for Tennis Center Renovation

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska on April 9, 2013 2:37pm | Updated on April 9, 2013 2:41pm

QUEENS — The United States Tennis Association said it is open to replacing parkland it would use for its planned expansion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, officials said Monday.

The development came as Borough President Helen Marshall said that she would support the expansion, contingent on the replacement of the parkland.

The USTA, which is planning to replace the aging Louis Armstrong Stadium, build a new Grandstand Stadium and two parking garages, would permanently assume control of a .68-acre strip of the park, adding to its 42-acre complex.

National Tennis Center COO Daniel Zausner said Monday, that the USTA had not initially considered replacing the land. “This is the direction we got from the city originally — that the replacement was not going to be required, that it would be more important to make park improvements,” he said.

But he also said that after talking to six Queens community boards, which in recent weeks have held public hearings on the issue, and after discussing the expansion with Borough President Helen Marshall, it became clear that “[parkland replacement] was important to them and it needs to be explored,” Zausner said.

He would not discuss any potential locations for park replacement.

Community boards are split in their support for the project. Three boards have approved the expansion with conditions, two others have rejected it with conditions, one board rejected the project entirely.

At the Queens Borough Board meeting on Monday, the borough president said she planned to support the USTA application although her approval would be contingent upon park replacement.

“I can tell you that I am insisting that any alienated parkland must be replaced,” said Marshall. She also said she is planning to submit her formal recommendation to the City Planning Department later this week.

She noted that when her family moved to Queens from the Bronx in 1957, the park “was barren, it had nothing in it.”

“This is a great addition to our borough,” she said about the USTA project. “As long as you teach our children how to play tennis, then let’s go with it."

She also said that “tennis is one of the most important games for women.”

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