QUEENS — The City Planning Commission voted Wednesday to approve the the U.S. Tennis Association's controversial expansion plan in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the last step before the project comes up for a final vote in the City Council.
The USTA is looking to renovate and expand its 42-acre National Tennis Center, replacing the aging Louis Armstrong Stadium, building a new Grandstand Stadium and two parking garages and replacing seven tennis courts.
The $500 million plan requires using a small 0.68-acre strip of city parkland, a detail that drew opposition from some Queens residents.
Earlier this month, the USTA agreed to replace the parkland it needs for the expansion with two other parcels, totaling 1.56 acres.
The replacement parkland consists of two pieces of land that were leased to the USTA in 1993, including open space and five tennis courts that the tennis association would maintain.
In her remarks before voting in favor of the plan, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said she was "pleased" to support the proposal in light of the deal to replace the parkland.
"An agreement has been reached for the USTA to return to the city 1.56 acres of parkland that it currently leases, thereby ensuring that there will be no loss of public parkland in order to accomplish the proposed upgrade to the tennis center," she said.
"There will be, in fact, a net gain of nearly 9/10 of an acre of parkland."