The United States Tennis Association, eager to win City Council approval for its National Tennis Center expansion plans, has agreed to provide ongoing funding for Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
The USTA had no immediate comment, but according to Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras and New Yorkers for Parks, who have been working to secure a funding agreement, the U.S. Open organizer has promised $10.05 million for the park.
The agreement starts in 2014 and means $5 million for capital projects; $350,000 a year for three years for maintenance and programming, and then $200,000 a year for the ensuing 20 years.
That's on top of the $500,000 the USTA pays in rent each year to the city's general fund.
That funding will help underwrite the creation of a public-private partnership to help maintain the park, similar in function (if not in scale) to the Central Park Conservancy and Prospect Park Alliance. The USTA will sit on its board.
So, an average of less than $500,000 per year? That's it?
Comment from Mayoral Candidate Bill DeBlasio:
“In a city where outer-borough parks have been consistently shortchanged, today’s announcement represents a major step forward. I congratulate Council Member Julissa Ferreras for securing an ongoing and increased commitment from the United States Tennis Association to help fund park maintenance and upgrades at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and for laying the foundation for a new conservancy that will help improve Queens’ crown jewel park for years to come. We must ensure that whenever private interests lease or use city parkland, those parks receive sustained and substantial funding in return.”Sustained? Substantial? Why do we need a new conservancy, when we already have the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy? Especially since part of the park was recently named after its late former president, Pat Dolan? So the USTA can dictate that the money be used on the tennis courts they're not really giving up and flowers outside their new stadiums?
From the Daily News:
“This will be a win-win partnership,” said park advocate Will Sweeney, who bitterly opposed the expansion until the USTA made the $10 million contribution. “The investment can lead to Flushing Meadows-Corona finally reaching its potential as a world class park.”
A win for the phony park advocates!
But not everyone was a fan of the revised deal.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Park Advocates, who added local elected officials should be the ones to pay for the park maintenance. “They’re taking up more park land.”
Look folks, this is how it's going to work: The USTA money is not going to supplement Parks funding, it's going to replace it.
And what happens after 23 years? They sell off more of the park to another billion dollar corporation?
The final City Council vote was 47-1. The only person to not vote in favor was - Dan Halloran!