Forest Hills Post:
A number of Kew Gardens residents have come together to launch a campaign to block the reopening and expansion of the Queens House of Detention.
About 25 residents have formed the Community Preservation Coalition, a group that aims to stop the Mayor’s plan to reopen the shuttered 126-01 82nd Ave. facility.
The group is comprised of many of the same people who led the successful effort to the save the Lefferts Boulevard Bridge, according to coalition member Dominick Pistone, who also heads the Kew Gardens Civic Association.
The coalition argues that the mayor’s proposal for a 1,500 inmate jail at the Kew Gardens site— adjacent to Queens Borough Hall and the District Attorney’s Office— would be out of scale with the surrounding buildings and exacerbate traffic in the neighborhood.
Pistone said the mayor is calling for a “monster facility that’s totally out of scale with the neighborhood.”
The coalition intends to launch a public awareness campaign after the City holds a public hearing on the project next week, Pistone said.
The hearing, which will be held at Queens Borough Hall at 6 p.m. on Sept. 26, is part of the Environmental Review Process that is required for the site to be rezoned. The public will have the opportunity to hear more about the project and to ask questions.
The City needs to rezone the site for the jail expansion to move forward.
The group launched a petition against the jail on Sept. 18, and Pistone said the group and will begin to distribute fliers about the group’s concerns in coming weeks. He said the coalition knew that the City was considering reopening the jail, but was shocked as to the scale of the expansion.
While the existing structure is 497,600 square feet and housed about 500 inmates, the new facility would be 1,910,000 square feet and house 1,510 inmates.