Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Public says no to parkland grab
From DNA Info:
Activists and residents called a proposed $500 million U.S. Tennis Association expansion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park a “land grab” during a meeting Monday night in an attempt to sway the community board's parks committee, which is considering the issue later this week.
“They already have a huge chunk of land and now they want more,” John Kelly, a retired Flushing resident, said at Monday's meeting. “Do you think they would try to commercially develop Central Park or Prospect Park? I think not."
Another Queens resident, Ben Haber, accused the USTA of not being a good neighbor.
"There is no justification for the USTA's request other than they want to make more money, the bulk of which goes into the pockets of the professional players and its commitments throughout the United States — not Queens," he said. “Your obligation is to protect the park not just for the current residents of Queens, but for generations as yet unborn.”
A statement from state Sen. Tony Avella, who strongly opposes the USTA expansion, was also read at the meeting.
“In my opinion, this is perhaps the biggest land grab of parkland not only in Queens, but also in the entire city,” the statement read. “Parkland is sacred. The three projects will result in elimination of crucial parkland from our borough’s most prominent park, which provides open space and recreational benefits to thousands of borough residents."
Edwin Westley from Community Board 3, which includes Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and North Corona, said he believed more than 400 mature trees would be chopped down - citing an environmental study - and that the project would significantly increase transportation problems in the area.
“I would urge you to vote 'no',” he told CB7 members. “I know my Community Board is going to vote 'no' on this proposition.”
Being caught totally off guard, the USTA and City made sure to pack the CB9 meeting the following night with union members and tennis players. When you were 13 years old, did you even know what a community board was?