It may not be over yet.
Local pols are crowing that the Feds are backing off from a plan to build a halfway house in a derelict Bragg Street synagogue, but the Federal Bureau of Prisons says the plan could still happen. Electeds are already claiming victory.
“What great news for the community to start the New Year, that there will be no halfway house on Bragg Street. I join the many who signed the petition, and who were vocal in making the community’s opposition known, in celebrating and thanking the Bureau of Prisons for making this decision,” said state Sen. Marty Golden in an e-mailed statement that has appeared in local media.
The only hitch is, the Federal Bureau of Prisons cannot confirm the deal is actually off the table, according to a spokesman from the agency.
“The Bureau of Prisons has not made any decisions regarding the Brooklyn, New York, Residential Reentry Center solicitation,” said rep Justin Long. “This solicitation is considered active, and the Bureau can not comment on locations or potential offerors per the Federal Acquisition Regulation.”
Washington-based Rever Corporation filed an application last year to turn the shuttered Beth Aaron Synagogue between Avenues V and W into a halfway house for about 100 well-behaved cons to serve out the last days of their sentences as they transition back into society.
Area pols including Golden, Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park), and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D-Sheepshead Bay) vowed to block the proposal because the house would be too close to schools and parks. And they thought they were successful — but they are all getting their information from the owner of the derelict synagogue, not the Feds, according to Maisel.
“The person in charge of the synagogue told me it was withdrawn,” he said. “[The Federal Bureau of Prisons] don’t tell us anything.”
But a rep from the company that owns the synagogue said the pols told him the halfway house was all done.
“I don’t have any relationship with anything except what the politicians say,” said Sam Sorsch, who answered the phone number listed for Bronx Jewish Boys, which owns the synagogue.
Rever Corporation did not respond to requests for comment.