Opponents Blast Controversial Bronx Jail at City Planning Commission Hearing, Call for Withdrawal of Plan
Opponents spent hours speaking out against the jail plan; Planning Commission will vote on proposal within 60 days
NEW YORK (07/10/2019) (readMedia)-- Opponents of the de Blasio Administration's new Bronx jail showed up in force today to condemn the controversial plan at a City Planning Commission (CPC) hearing. During hours of testimony, concerned Mott Haven residents detailed how the jail would put their low-income community of color at risk, demanding the jail be sited away from their residential neighborhood and placed next to the Bronx Courthouse.
"The City Planning Commission has the power to force the City to restart this process, and for the sake of the Mott Haven community they must," said Arline Parks, CEO of Diego Beekman. "Throughout this entire land use process the City has refused to listen to the people who actually live in Mott Haven. Mayor de Blasio chose the success of his jail plan over the future of a low-income community of color. By restarting this process, our concerns will be heard and this jail can be sited where it belongs: next to the courthouse."
The CPC will vote in August on the plan. Bronx Community Board 1 recently voted unanimously against the jail proposal. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz rejected the plan last week, stating that the City has not listened to community concerns and that the jail should be sited next to the Bronx Family Court and Bronx Hall of Justice instead.
Mott Haven community leaders also filed a lawsuit against the City demanding that they begin a new land use process that evaluates each of the four proposed new borough jail sites individually, instead of as a package. The lawsuit adds 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.
Opponents on Wednesday argued that placing the jail in Mott Haven would prevent local non-profits from using the space for mixed income housing and community spaces to revitalize the neighborhood. They also shared 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.