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USTA Expansion Up for Planning Commission Vote Soon

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | April 25, 2013 1:23pm

QUEENS — The City Planning Commission will soon vote on the U.S. Tennis Association's planned expansion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the last step before the project's fate is decided by the City Council.

The commission held a hearing on Wednesday in which the public commented on the USTA’s plan calling for replacing the aging Louis Armstrong Stadium, building a new Grandstand Stadium and two parking garages and replacing seven courts.

A .68-acre strip of the park would be permanently turned over to the USTA, adding to the 42-acre complex.

The Planning Commission is expected to vote on the proposal on May 22, however the vote may be pushed back if the commission needs more time. According to the rules of the public review process, the commission must vote by June 14, a Department of City Planning spokesman said Thursday.

After receiving the commission's non-binding recommendation, the City Council will have 50 days to review and vote on the application.

The project has both supporters and opponents, who have testified during public hearings held at six Queens community boards in recent months.

Some opponents demanded that the USTA replace any parkland that they take and donate funds for the park’s maintenance.

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.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall supported the USTA application although her approval is contingent upon park replacement, among other conditions.