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Queens Chronicle

Council votes to allow USTA expansion

Association to donate $10.05 M

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Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:52 am, Thu Aug 1, 2013.

The long awaited vote has finally come.

On Wednesday, the City Council approved a proposal 47-1 allowing the United States Tennis Association to use .68 acres of Flushing Meadows Corona parkland to expand its complex there in return for $10.05 million and 16 community programs.

The vote is the last step in the Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure.

The $500 million construction project calls for replacing the existing Louis Armstrong and Grandstand stadiums, expanding the public plazas and making general improvements adding space for 10,000 more spectators, the USTA said.

The money will go to the park over 20 years to pay for programming and physical improvements, according to Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-Corona).

Additionally, the park tenant pledges to improve its communication with the community with a bimonthly newsletter as well as host an annual Queens day, tryouts for the Open’s anthem performer, job fairs for the event and summer movie screenings.

The space will also be available for schools to rent at cost for graduation and other events, something that will help overcrowded schools in Queens, Ferreras said.

The association will also give away 5,000 tickets to its Arthur Ashe Kids Day.

“We are pleased that today the USTA has agreed to a long-term commitment to be a meaningful partner with the community to improve FMCP,” said the Fairness Coalition of Queens.

The USTA, Ferreras and community groups such as Make the Road New York, are still working to increase the percentage of people hired from Queens for the Open — now at 41 percent — and create a plan to stop drivers from parking on the grass.

Queens Council members Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), who originally opposed the plan, voted for the approval with the new concessions.

Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) voted no.

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