NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Residents gave city representatives an earful in the Bronx Wednesday night in response to a plan to build a jail to help replace Rikers Island.
The opposition was loud and clear as families from Mott Haven spoke out angrily against the city’s plan to open a jail at an old tow pound on Concord Avenue.
“Some of us residents have made lives and raised families on Concord Avenue for over 70 years,” resident Myra Hernandez said. “We are enraged.”
Hernandez lives two blocks from the proposed site in the Bronx.
“For anyone to propose that this is going to be beneficial for these communities that are oppressed and marginalized, has no clue,” she said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to close the jails on Rikers Island and move towards a borough-based jail system. It would build facilities on the Concord Avenue property in the Bronx, Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, Centre Street in Manhattan, and 82nd Avenue in Queens.
The city’s hope is that the proposed jails will be integrated into the communities. Plans for the four sites include parking lots, community space and retail space.
In a statement sent to CBS2 the mayor’s office said they “deeply value the community’s responses,” and look forward to a “thorough engagement process,” but at the meeting Wednesday there was less engaging in more interrupting.
Attendees couldn’t hear a word said by the representative from the Department of Correction, and the crowd was sent into an uproar when one speaker was interrupted even though she went over her allotted time by several minutes.
The hearings are preliminary for now, and officials say there will be more chances for residents to voice their concern or support for the community jails in the coming weeks.