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Testimony of Robert LoScalzo to Queens Borough President Helen Marshall concerning the proposed expansion of the United States

Tennis Association National Tennis Center within Flushing Meadows Corona Park April 4, 2013

I am Robert LoScalzo, a resident of Queens. I'm opposed to unnecessarily sacrificing even more parkland to the USTA. I am very concerned that you may not be aware, that USTA is perfectly capable of renovating its facilities while keeping within its present footprint, and NOT expanding onto even more parkland. USTA's EIS for this project (chapter 17) sets forth two options – the "Alternative Without Additional Park Land" and the "Alternative Without New Park Land Alienation" – either of which would rebuild the USTA stadiums, in place. So if you're in favor of creating construction and trade jobs, those two reasonable options would absolutely do so, and would also satisfy USTA's desire for new, state-of-the-art facilities – without further encroaching into Flushing Meadows Corona Park. USTA's self-serving conclusion is that rebuilding within its current footprint is not acceptable to USTA. USTA wants more parkland, for two main reasons: Number One: To increase the width of a walkway inside the tennis center, to provide a more luxurious experience for tennis people during just two weeks of the U.S. Open. If that walkway really isn't wide enough, U.S. Open fans would have testified at the public hearings in support of widening it. They haven't. Solving a non-existent problem two weeks out of the year does not justify sacrificing sacred parkland.

Number Two: USTA wants to increase attendance at the U.S. Open by 10,000 more people every day. But who says that we want 10,000 more people there, or that it's even reasonable to put them there? The impacts of those people are very significant. A very large number of them will travel by car, taxi or limousine. Here are two photographs showing the effects on Roosevelt Avenue during the 2012 U.S. Open. Two entire lanes are coned off – one in each direction – to accommodate drop-off and pick-up of tennis people. This situation is already very bad – but USTA wants to attract another 10,000 people here per day? By the way, these conditions on Roosevelt are right next to the proposed site of the Mets mall in the Citi Field parking lot – which would be the largest mall in New York City. How can you reconcile commandeering Roosevelt Avenue like this, with the simultaneous traffic to be generated by a huge mall, right here? The prestige of the U.S. Open is already well established. It does not depend on whether 10,000 more people attend it. This USTA proposal, like the two others that impinge on our park, are efforts to close deals on parkland while the Bloomberg administration is still around to sign the papers. Please do right by the people of Queens: Tell USTA to renovate within its existing space, and reject its self-serving application to expand its size and its impacts. Thank you. Robert LoScalzo Whitestone, New York 718-352-4534

Proposed E X P A N S I O N of United States Tennis Association National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park IMPACTS UPON TREES Excerpts from the USTA Draft Environmental Impact Statement Chapter 1, page 8: "Approximately 422 trees would be removed, which would be transplanted to the extent practicable" (emphasis added). Chapter 7, page 2: "Six state-listed endangered willow oak trees located in the walkway between Louis Armstrong Stadium and the Indoor Tennis Center would be displaced as a result of the proposed project. However, if deemed feasible, these trees may be relocated to another area of the NTC or onto adjacent DPR property" (emphasis added). Chapter 7, page 1: "The analysis finds that the proposed project would not result in any significant adverse natural resources impacts" – despite the likely tree impacts. ____________________________ USTA CAN RENOVATE WITHOUT ENCROACHING ONTO MORE PARKLAND USTA is perfectly capable of renovating its facilities within its existing footprint, and rebuilding its stadiums in place, WITHOUT expanding onto any additional parkland. In fact, USTA’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (chapter 17) analyzes two scenarios in which renovations are accomplished without additional parkland: "Alternative Without Additional Park Land" • 0.94 acres of park land would NOT be added to the NTC site. • USTA stadiums would be rebuilt, in place – providing the same construction and trade jobs as if built elsewhere. • The "opportunity to improve pedestrian circulation" only for patrons of the U.S. Open would be lost. (Thus far, no U.S. Open attendee has testified that the existing pedestrian circulation is insufficient.) • There would be no increase in capacity of the NTC to allow 10,000 more visitors per day to attend the U.S. Open – but there would also be no adverse traffic impacts arising from the influx of those additional 10,000 visitors. "Alternative Without New Park Land Alienation" • NO new alienation of park land. • Only 0.26 acres of previously alienated park land would be added to the NTC site. • USTA stadiums would be rebuilt, in place – providing the same construction and trade jobs as if built elsewhere. • This alternative "would result in the same development program as the Alternative Without Additional Park Land", above. Either of the above two reasonable alternatives would result in renovated USTA facilities, but without further compromising Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The pending USTA ULURP application should be denied, and the USTA told to pursue either of the above two reasonable alternatives. Information provided by Save Flushing Meadows Corona Park •