Bronx Borough President Rejects Mott Haven Jail SIte, Stands with Community

Fate of controversial plan to put jail in low-income community of color moves to CIty Planning Commission

BRONX, NY (07/08/2019) (readMedia)-- THE BRONX, NY - Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. strongly rejected the de Blasio Administration's controversial plan to site a jail in Mott Haven as part of the City's land use process, recommending the facility be placed on an alternative site next to the Bronx Hall of Justice.

"I must remain steadfast in my opposition to any plan that not only builds a new jail at the wrong location but also refuses to address the legitimate concerns raised by individuals and organizations on all sides of the issue," Borough President Diaz said. "The city has proposed a jail that is the wrong size and in the wrong place. It is unfair to the people of The Bronx to force them to accept the burden of a plan that even the de Blasio administration admits is not the best it can be while also dismissing their concerns as unreasonable."

Bronx community leaders opposing the Mott Haven jail applauded the Borough President's decision.

"We thank Borough President Diaz for continuing to stand on the side of justice and fairness for the people of Mott Haven," said Arline Parks CEO of Diego Beekman. "Our community doesn't need a jail; it needs investments in our future such as affordable housing, education, public safety and in our youth to prevent the next generation from going to jail. The City has tried everything they can to force this jail on our community, including engaging in an illegal land use process. It is time they listen to us and site this jail somewhere else."

In his recommendation the Borough President cites the City's refusal to include the Mott Haven community in their decision-making process to locate the jail. Borough President Diaz then specifically calls for the new jail to be next to the Bronx Family Court and Bronx Hall of Justice--a site that jail opponents say was not adequately assessed by the de Blasio administration.

Diaz's decision followed continued opposition from the Mott Haven community, including a unanimous no vote from Bronx Community Board 1. Mott Haven community leaders have also filed a lawsuit against the City demanding that the City begin a new land use process that properly evaluates each proposed jail site.

This week the Uniform Land Use Review process (ULURP) will continue with a City Planning Commission Hearing on Wednesday at 10AM at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Gerald W. Lynch Theatre. If community members cannot attend but want to make their voices heard they can submit online testimony here. Their vote takes place in August.

Diego Beekman Background:

Diego Beekman Mutual Housing Association (DB) consists of 38 buildings of affordable housing in Mott Haven. DB has been in existence for 45 years and employs 100 workers. Since 2003, DB has been run by a board that consists of residents that includes other professionals with housing experience. DB has had a hugely positive impact on the community since taking over ownership of the development. Management has lowered the levels of gang violence, drugs and addressed public safety issues. DB has spent the last 22 years planning the stability of the complex that has resulted in $150 million in financial investments in capital improvements to the housing stock. DB has spent the last 2-3 years gathering input from community residents to form the Diego Beekman Neighborhood Plan, a comprehensive development plan for three underutilized, publicly-owned sites in the community that includes additional affordable housing,youth & senior services community space, economic opportunities, jobs and more to create wealth for this neighborhood in Mott Haven.