Preservationists searching for ways to save the historic Forest Hills tennis stadium may have found a new ally. The Daily News reports that members from President Barack Obama’s historic preservation staffs are interested in saving the stadium.
“Once you lose a particular artifact, a building or whatever else, you lose both the visual and cultural touch with society,” Milford Wayne Donaldson, chairman of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, told The Daily News.
The stadium, which hosted the U.S. Open for more than 50 years, was recently put on the market again by the West Side Tennis Club. Last year, club members rejected a proposal from development company Cord Meyer to buy the stadium and build condo units at the site.
Since the club first floated the idea of selling the stadium, there was a strong backlash to preserve and landmark the stadium.
Michael Perlman, president of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, said there were a number of great opportunities the stadium could bring to local residents.
“Mixed-use creative revitalization would yield a greater economic return in the long-run, and may feature tennis matches, concerts, weddings, exhibits, school trips, charity events, music and art festivals,” Perlman said.
He urged both the city Landmarks Preservation Council to landmark the stadium and noted that it has all the makings of a national landmark.
However, the city rejected the site from consideration earlier this year, citing its extreme architectural deterioration.
According to The Daily News, Donaldson said he would push to put the stadium on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s most endangered historic places list, but he said there must be a strong local push to rescue the site.
By Eric Yun