The U.S. Tennis Association bought the support of many outraged park advocates with a $10 million donation to Queens’ flagship park - enough to grease the wheels for a nearly unanimous approval of its expansion plan by the City Council Wednesday.
The 47-1 vote will allow the USTA to build new tennis stadiums on two-thirds of an acre in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
The vote came after the USTA made the eight-figure donation to set up a public-private alliance to maintain the overcrowded park.
“The USTA stepped up to the plate,” said City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), mixing sports metaphors. “This park deserves more.”
The USTA also agreed to return 1.56 acres of parkland back to Flushing Meadows. But that land, which includes five tennis courts and the open space surrounding it, is already easily accessible to the public.
The association plans to tear down two aging stadiums, built for the 1964 World’s Fair, inside the 46-acre site it leases from the city and replace them with new stadiums.