Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Fake park advocates think fake parkland swap is great
The U.S. Tennis Association, which owns and operates the U.S. Open, announced Tuesday morning it has reached an agreement with the city that will replace a sliver of public parkland in Flushing Meadows Corona Park that it needs to complete its expansion and also increase the active space available there.
The agreement ends a local fight over a 0.68-acre piece of parkland that the Tennis Association needed to acquire as part of a $500 million expansion for its 42-acre Flushing, Queens, tennis complex.
The community has been pushing the tennis association to replace the parkland, while the city had been open to accepting a financial commitment from the tennis group to make improvements to the park, rather than exchange land. One source said the land-swap agreement means there will be no USTA funding of improvements, but another said the matter is still to be negotiated.
The new agreement with the city will give 1.56 acres of parkland back to the community in return for 0.68 acres of parkland it needs. The replacement space will be located east of David Dinkins Circle and includes three-quarters of an acre of "passive open space" and nearly one acre of active space that contains five tennis courts. Those two parcels of land were added to the National Tennis Center's lease in 1993 and will be returned to the city. The Tennis Association would still be responsible for maintaining and repairing the tennis courts and would use those courts only for major tennis events.
So, they are proposing to privatize parkland by "giving back" parkland they already privatized (but still will be able to use whenever they want to). Well, that sounds like such a great deal for parkgoers! Let's hear from Holly...
"We are pleased that the USTA and the city have shifted their positions on replacement parkland," said Holly Leicht, executive director of New Yorkers for Parks. "This may seem like a small amount of acreage, but it is vital to close the door on this and future attempts to privatize parkland without replacing what is lost to the public."
Once again, New Yorkers for Parks is a fake park advocacy group that is joined at the hip with the Bloomberg Administration and a "partner" of the NYC Parks Department. I'm sure local activists will take a different stance...
"It's a good first step," said Will Sweeney, co-founder of the Jackson Heights Green Alliance and member of the Fairness Coalition of Queens. "We felt this was the most important thing the USTA had to do, mostly for precedent purposes."
So Sweeney and his fake coalition think that setting a precedent of replacing parkland with other parkland is good?
Heaven protect Queens from our so-called "park defenders."