Danny Zausner, USTA chief operating officer, addressed Community Board 6 at the Kew Gardens Community Center last week. His presentation included an outline of the retractable roof construction project, which is expected to conclude by the 2016 U.S. Open.
“Bottom line is for us, if it does rain in a tournament, we will have a roof that will allow us to close in five minutes,” Zausner told the board. “When the storm blows over, we can kick it back open.”
Zausner also elaborated on additional portions of the construction phase, as well as the demolition plans for Louis Armstrong Stadium and a rebuilt stadium onsite.
He added that new practice courts are expected to open by 2014, and additional grandstand courts and field courts are set to open by 2015.
“Everything is getting rebuilt,” he said. “There is a lot of work to be done.”
Zausner also announced that the USTA plans to bring back Queens Day, a Queens-focused job fair, and affordable or free tennis clinics targeted at the surrounding communities.
“The list goes on and on as a recreational public facility,” he said. “We are not a member facility and we are open to the public.”
Zausner added that the USTA is considering bringing an outdoor movie series to the park, and plans to reach out to the Queens Museum.
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras said she is pleased with the way the USTA has already begun to implement the community outreach initiative.
“I had requested that they make quarterly presentations to the community boards surrounding Flushing Meadows Corona Park,” she said. “I am happy to see them deliver on this promise.”
Last month, Ferreras and the USTA presented the second annual USTA Schools Day to provide on-court tennis activities and nutrition courses with teaching professionals.
“Through this process, I am confident that the USTA will only continue to grow as a good neighbor to our community,” Ferreras added.
Community Board 6 district manager Frank Gulluscio said he has been impressed with the USTA's community involvement, currently as well as in the past.
“However long I’ve been here, they’ve reached out to us for Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, and I know some of our schools have gone there for different events,” Gulluscio said. “We hope it continues in the future.