Weigh in: Community Board to host hearing about Boerum Hill jail expansion

Not our House: Locals demanded the city take its plan to replace Atlantic Avenue’s House of Detention with a jail eight times its size back to the drawing board in order to incorporate more community involvement in the scheme proposed by Mayor DeBlasio as part of his plan to reduce the number of inmates on Rikers Island.
Photo by Zoe Freilich

Make your voices heard about Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to expand the Brooklyn House of Detention as part of his scheme to close Rikers Island at a public hearing in Clinton Hill on Thursday.

Community Board 2 will host the four-hour session on April 11 at the Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School Auditorium.

Civic honchos will hear the community’s input on the city’s proposal to raze the current Boerum Hill structure in order to make way for a new building more than twice its height, with space for hundreds more inmates.

The city’s Planning Commission certified the plans on March 25, kicking off the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which the city must complete before it can break ground at the Atlantic Avenue lot.

The current facility at Boerum Place is 170 feet tall with 11 stories and houses 815 beds across some 161,765 square feet — almost the size of three football fields.

The city proposes to demolish the 62-year-old structure and replace it with a new 395-foot tall building at some 40 stories and grow the floor space to 1,190,000 square feet — more than seven times its current area — with 1,437 beds.

The new building will also house 30,0000 square feet — or just north of half a football field’s worth — of retail or community space at ground level along Boerum Place, Atlantic Avenue, and Smith Street, as well as 292 underground parking spaces for Department of Correction staff, according to its draft environmental impact statement.

After the community board hearing there will be several more meetings, including one led by Borough President Eric Adams, the Planning Commission, and the City Council.

The mayor committed in 2017 to close the Rikers Island complex by 2027 and reduce the number of incarcerated people to 5,000 spread out across four borough jails in Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Manhattan.

These smaller jails would allow for inmates to be closer to their families, attorneys, courts, medical and mental health care, and faith and community-based organizations, which will make the incarceration system more modern and humane, according to the city’s website on the project.

Tell Community Board 2 what you think about the mayor’s plan at the Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School Auditorium [357 Clermont Ave. from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., doors open at 4:30 p.m., enter from Greene Avenue, wheelchair-accessible entrance on Clermont Avenue].

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.

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