NY Daily News
Horse-trading is in full swing as the City Council readies to vote on Mayor de Blasio’s controversial plan to close the notorious jail complex on Rikers Island and replace it with four new facilities.
The plan calls for jails to be built in Downtown Manhattan, the South Bronx, central Queens and Downtown Brooklyn by 2026, at an estimated cost of $8.7 billion.
That’s a bitter pill to swallow for some residents of those nabes. So the de Blasio administration is offering a proverbial spoonful of sugar to Council members rep’ing the areas.
The city is committing to building up to 233 units of affordable housing next to a new jail sited at 320 Concord Ave. in the Bronx nabe of Mott Haven, according to Councilwoman Diana Ayala.
She hopes new housing might mollify residents in the area, where the community board unanimously rejected the mayor’s plan in May.
“I’m sure that they’re not going to be excited about this, either,” Ayala said of the new jail’s opponents. “In an effort to try to do the best thing by both the community and shutting Rikers, this is the best place I can get to.”
In spite of pockets of opposition from pols like Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer — who’s been tormented by socialist activists as he seeks the Queens borough president’s seat — the Council is expected to pass the mayor’s plan. The Land Use Committee will conclude a review process known as ULURP on Wednesday, followed by a full Council vote Thursday.
Council members in districts where the new jails were sited were likely “yes” votes from the start of the debate.
But an insider noted the ULURP process, in which the Council tends to defer to the votes of colleagues rep’ing areas where projects are proposed, gives members in Ayala’s shoes lots of leverage.
“If you’re a member who’s going to vote yes, then why not secure benefits?” the Council insider remarked. “The ULURP provides a rare occasion to provide community benefits. Why not?”