Mott Haven Community Leaders Oppose City's Controversial Jail Plan at Borough President's Hearing

Testify at hearing, call for jail to be moved near the courthouse

BRONX, NY (06/25/2019) (readMedia)-- Bronx, NY - On Tuesday evening, Borough President Diaz, Jr. held a Land Use hearing on the de Blasio Administration's controversial jail plan where he questioned city officials and heard from outraged leaders from the South Bronx community, including Diego Beekman residents, who strongly recommended that the City site the jail next to the courthouse-and not in Mott Haven.

The Borough President's hearing and eventual recommendation will conclude the next step of the land use process (ULURP). Mott Haven community leaders have filed a lawsuit against the City demanding that they begin a new process that evaluates each proposed jail site individually. The lawsuit states that the de Blasio Administration chose political expediency over the needs of the Mott Haven community by grouping all four Rikers Island replacement jails into one ULURP. In May, Community Board 1, which encompases the site of the proposed jail, voted unanimously against the plan.

"The Mott Haven community appreciates the Borough President's support so far, and his efforts to reject this unjust jail plan and protect our low-income community of color. Mott Haven needs affordable housing and investments in public safety-not a massive jail," said Arline Parks, CEO of Diego Beekman. "The City chose to ignore our community and broke the law when they chose to site this jail in Mott Haven. The community, the Community Board and now the Borough President agree: put this jail next to the courthouse instead, where it belongs."

Community members oppose the jail plan because the jail would prevent local organizations from using the proposed space to build a mixed income housing development that would help revitalize the Mott Haven community. They've also expressed public safety concerns.

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.