Double Fault: The Negative Impact of the US Tennis Association on Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and Surrounding Communities
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (FMCP), Queens' flagship park, is the only major green space in the working class borough of over 2 million people. Queens residents and families use it for recreation, family gathering, soccer, baseball, cricket, picnics, boating, running, and other exercise. The park is heavily utilized with more than 20,000 people playing soccer every week in the organized soccer leagues - with countless others enjoying the park seven days a week. It is also currently home to several major private sports facilities, including the stadiums of the USTA's Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (NTC) and Citifield, home of the New York Mets. The communities surrounding the park are diverse and lower income, with 75% of the surrounding residents being people of color and 40% living below the poverty line. Corona, a heavily immigrant neighborhood adjacent to the park, has the worst childhood obesity rate in the entire city at 51%. In the waning days of the Bloomberg Administration, the park is being targeted as a building site for several of the Mayor's stated "Legacy'' projects. Corporations are eager to acquire valuable land at low cost and wi.th generous public subsidies for their own developments. The park and surrounding communities are under siege by corporate and political interests seeking to exploit this valuable public asset at the expense of the largely working class,immigrant population of Queens. One of the three proposed projects is the Urtited States Tennis Association's (USTA) bid to expand their already sizable footprint inside the park by capturing an additional .94 acres to their leasehold. The USTA estimates that the NTC expansion would bring an additional 10,000 spectators per day dlu·ing the U.S. Open. The proposed $500 million renovation would include the consh-uction of a third tennis stadium, renovations to enlarge two existing stadiums, two new parking garages, a new road, up to 170,000-gsf of new retail space, and a dirty diesel fueled power plant. This report examines the revenues and profits USTA has at its disposal as a result of their special siting within Flushing Meadows Corona Park. It further studies how much economic development occurs in the surrounding communities as a result of USTA's presence. Finally, this report will explore the extent to which the NTC is really open to the public as parkland.
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park; FMCP; Queens; New York; communities; development; AFL-CIO
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