Rikers Island is closing, but finding a site in the Bronx for a new jail is proving to be a difficult task.
The location needs to be finalized over the next few months for the city to meet its deadline of starting the public-review process for all borough jail locations by the end of 2018, according to Crain’s. They are currently looking at two sites in the Bronx, but both come with problems.
One site would be a parcel next to the Bronx Hall of Justice, which could support a 25-story jail and make it very easy to get inmates to court. However, the site is made up of three parcels, and the city owns only one of them. The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York owns the other two, meaning Gov. Andrew Cuomo would have to approve transferring the land. His notoriously poor relationship with Mayor Bill de Blasio could make this a difficult task.
City Council member Vanessa Gibson also is against putting a new jail in her district and specifically opposes the Hall of Justice site because it is near two public schools. The City Council will likely oppose the site if Gibson does as well, given her status as the local member.
The de Blasio administration supports building a new jail in Mott Haven at East 141st Street and Concord Avenue, but Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and City Council member Rafael Salamanca both oppose that location and asked the city to look for other sites.
However, the lot is already owned by the city, and local City Council member Diana Ayala supports it as well, meaning it still has a good shot of getting approved on the city’s timeline. [Crain’s] – Eddie Small