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Queens electeds split on mayor’s plan to bring jail to Kew Gardens

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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to replace the detention facilities on Rikers Island with four modern community-based borough jails has divided Queens lawmakers on the opening of a proposed Kew Gardens jail site.

The de Blasio administration announced Aug. 15 that the proposal would redevelop the existing Queens Detention Complex located at 126-02 82nd Ave., adjacent to the Queens Criminal Courthouse, and the municipal parking lot into a corrections center with space for 1,510 prisoner beds.

City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Kew Gardens) weighed in favor of the mayor’s proposal to redevelop the shuttered Queens Detention Center, which will house pregnant inmates and those with severe medical needs.

“Closing Rikers Island and opening community-based facilities is not only beneficial for New York City’s correction officers and incarcerated population, but also beneficial for the Kew Gardens community,” said Koslowitz. “The new facility in Kew Gardens will bring significant economic development and provide hundreds of new parking spaces in the community.”

Koslowitz added that the proposal would restore the center back to its original purpose and ensure that Queens’ borough-based jail facility is located in the civic center, close to the courts.

City Councilman Robert Holden (D-Middle Village), has been an outspoken critic, however, about the problems that could possibly arise if jails are placed in local communities.

Holden introduced a bill in May that would create a 10-person commission to study the cost of renovating Rikers Island to compare it with the estimated $11 billion it will cost to build borough jails.

“We have the numbers where borough-based jails are concerned, but we should know the cost of rejuvenating Rikers’ facilities to determine if it’s a viable alternative,” said Holden. “If we’re going to have taxpayers foot the bill for the city’s jail facilities, we should be able to show them the facts and figures.”

Holden’s colleagues, Council members Mark Gjonaj (D-Pelham Bay), Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), Paul Vallone (D-Bayside), and Kalman Yeger (D-Bensonhurst) signed onto the bill, which was assigned to the Committee on Criminal Justice and will be reviewed at public hearings before the City Council votes on it.

Ulrich said Holden’s measure is a “common sense bill.”

“It’s simple -- hardworking taxpayers deserve to know how their money will be spent if the city moves forward with its plan to close Rikers Island,” said Ulrich. “Moreover, the city must take these costs into account before going ahead with any such plan.”

In 2017, the mayor released a road map that included plans to safely reduce the jail population to 5,000 people and transition to a borough jail-based system that would fully integrate into the surrounding neighborhoods with community space, ground-floor retail and parking.

According to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the other proposed sites under consideration are: 320 Concord Avenue in the Bronx; 275 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn; and 80 Centre Street in Manhattan.

Each new facility will contain approximately 1,500 beds in order for the city to meet the needed 6,000 beds to accommodate an average daily population of 5,000 people, while allowing space for population-specific housing requirements, such as those related to safety, security, health, and mental health, among other factors.

To date, the city has held meetings with community groups and local elected officials and conducted focus groups with correctional officers, service providers, defenders, educators, formally detained people and families of justice-involved people, the mayor’s office said.

The mayor’s proposal will need to go through a public review -- the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure -- which includes hearings and recommendations by the local community board, borough president, the City Council and the City Planning Commission.

The city Department of Correction will hold public scope meetings regarding the Kew Gardens jail Sept. 26, at 6 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall located at 120-55 Queens Blvd.

Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmohamed@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4526.

Posted 12:00 am, August 23, 2018
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The Filth of Forest Hills from Forest Hills says:
Hello People who care about their community of Forest Hills & Kew Gardens and who do not want to see it decline as we have seen what happened when the Comfort Inn was turned into a men’s homeless shelter (litter, panhandling, drinking & drug use out in public in broad daylight, public defecation and an increase in crime in the area).

WELL, get ready for MORE CRAP ON STEROIDS and a BIG DECLINE IN QUALITY OF LIFE in our community.

The City of New York is proposing the construction of a Queens County Prison to be located at 126-02 82nd Avenue. Right near the already problematic Comfort Inn homeless shelter.

Our HACK ELECTED OFFICIAL, Councilmember Karen Koslowitz, whose district includes the Queens Detention Complex and municipal parking lot (where the jail will be placed), touted the plan as a potential gain for the community.

“Closing Rikers Island and opening community-based facilities is not only beneficial for New York City’s corrections officers and incarcerated population, but also beneficial for the Kew Gardens community,” she said. “The new facility in Kew Gardens will bring significant economic development and provide hundreds of new parking spaces for the community.”

EXPLAIN, how this will bring economic development and provide parking spaces for our community. We have already seen the crap that the homeless shelter here has brought. NOW picture all that CRAP on steroids. MORE LITTER, MORE PROBLEMATIC PEOPLE HANGING AROUND OUR COMMUNITY, MORE LOITERING, MORE TRAFFIC/CONGESTION, and MORE CRIME. YOU CAN COUNT ON IT.

So remember Koslowitz’s word come election time. Here is her contact information:

118-35 Queens Boulevard, 17th Floor
Forest Hills, NY 11375
718-544-8800 phone
718-544-4452 fax

Koslowitz@council.nyc.gov

If you would prefer NOT to have this facility in our neighborhood, where IT DOES NOT BELONG, you can voice your opinion at a hearing to be held regarding this proposal on:

September 26, 2018, at 6:00 PM Queens Borough Hall,

120-55 Queens Boulevard, Kew Gardens, NY 11424.

If you are interested in reading the entire proposal for a “borough based jail system”

(mysteriously, Staten Island has been left out of this), you can peruse the entire document here:

https://www.scribd.com/document/386269364/New-York-City-Borough-Based-Jail-System-Draft-Scope-of-Work-to-Prepare-a-Draft-Environmental-Impact-Statement#download&from_embed

To avoid having property values collapse and see the crime rate in our area skyrocket, I also urge you to spread the word to our elected representatives below– WE DO NOT WANT THIS!

Community Board 9 – J. Richard Smith (Chairperson) – 718- 286-2686

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/queenscb9/index.page

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (district 28) 718-263-5595

http://nyassembly.gov/mem/Andrew-Hevesi/map/

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (district 15) – (718) 738-1111

https://www.nysenate.gov/senators/joseph-p-addabbo-jr

State Senator Leory Comrie (District) - (718) 765-6359

https://www.nysenate.gov/senators/leroy-comrie

Queens Borough President – Melinda Katz – 718 286-3000

http://www.queensbp.org/

Mayor Bill De Blasio – (212) 788-7585

https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/bio.page

Make your voice heard! This does not belong in our community!

https://thefilthofforesthillsqueens.wordpress.com/
Aug. 23, 5:34 am
Dwayne from Queens says:
Interesting to note that da blank de blasio and his scheming elite accomplices haven't proposed to plop prisons into the large areas of NYC which they have hyper-gentrified.
Aug. 23, 6:18 am
Karen "THE HACK" Koslowitz from Kew Gardens says:
So what does long time elected hack KAREN KOSLOWITZ get out of approving plans for a huge jail to be dumped into the community of Kew Gardens/Forest Hills, which we all know, even without studies, will bring crime to the area, major traffic congestion, more loitering than the already problematic Comfort Inn Homeless Shelter (across from this proposed jail site) and a host of other quality of life issues.

As if having that problematic homeless shelter for single men was not bad enough (panhandling, loitering, public defecation, public alcohol/drug use, etc), wait till this jail gets dumped here.

SO Karen, what are you getting out of this deal that you will sell out the community you are supposed to represent?

REMEMBER Karen Koslowitz, come election time.

118-35 Queens Boulevard, 17th Floor
Forest Hills, NY 11375
718-544-8800 phone
718-544-4452 fax

Koslowitz@council.nyc.gov
Aug. 24, 5:02 pm

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