Responding to Wave of Opposition, City Hall to Host Town Hall on Chinatown Jail Proposal

Posted on: August 31st, 2018 at 5:02 am by

Photo: Karlin Chan

Residents and concerned citizens alike will now have a forum to both voice their misgivings and hold the city accountable for the potential new jailhouse at 80 Centre Street. The Manhattan Detention Center petition released last month seemed to nab the ears of enough local politicians; this past Monday, Councilwoman Margaret Chin announced that the city agreed to hold a public Town Hall to discuss the forthcoming plan.

(Those in opposition claim that this is a response to widespread criticism from the local Chinatown population.)

“I am pleased that City Hall has agreed to organize this Town Hall meeting,” Chin said in a statement. “While the Administration has much more work to do, the scheduling of this long-overdue meeting is a positive development for residents, business owners and community leaders. At this Town Hall, the community will have an opportunity to learn more about the project, have their questions answered, and participate in a discussion on the future of the Manhattan Detention Center site.”

As previously reported, Mayor de Blasio recently announced the draft proposal to replace the Rikers Island prison system over the next decade. His so-called “roadmap to closing Rikers” features new jail facilities throughout the five boroughs.

The current home of the city’s marriage bureau at 80 Centre Street was chosen as prime spot for this glitzy new high-rise detention center. This proposal would see a 430-foot development with roughly 1,500 beds for the incarcerated, plus a day room, activity room, counseling services, and potentially outdoor space. The new construction would also pull double duty with offices for the Manhattan DA’s office.

The Town Hall meeting (the first of several we’re told), is co-sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and will take place on September 12 at 6 pm, at PS 124 in Chinatown.

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