Friday, October 10, 2014

CM Brad Lander, BP Eric Adams, AM Joan Millman and DL Jo Anne Simon Question Logic, Process of Gowanus Parole Center Siting

Councilman Brad Lander has a petition up for those concerned about the process followed and the general advisability of consolidating Brooklyn parole operations into a remote location on the Gowanus.
The planning process for this facility has fallen far short of what any community deserves from their government. Over several months, not one single written word about the facility has been provided by DOCCS to the community or its elected officials. DOCCS has failed to articulate a coherent rationale for choosing to site a borough-wide facility in the heart of an industrial business zone close to a vibrant residential community. DOCCS has not shared the criteria it uses to site facilities, the solicitation, RFP, or process through which this site was chosen.
This single facility would replace three facilities that were originally in Downtown Brooklyn location, which were convenient to transit, and located in a commercial district with substantial foot-traffic. This new location would concentrate 300 to 400 parolees visits per day in a single site, which is close to many schools, parks and residential areas and inconvenient to transit. If the goal is to provide community-based locations, then there should be several around Brooklyn, convenient to residents from many neighborhoods, in areas with services. Perhaps this location could be one such facility; however, the state cannot claim that siting one facility in this location to serve the entire borough is part of a community-based strategy.
Downtown is the logical site, with excellent access to transit, courts and other government offices.  It's a mystery as to why the state thought this would be a good idea. Borough President (and former police officer) Eric Adams has also weighed in to question the wisdom of the plan:
The new headquarters for state parole operations should be downtown, not in Gowanus, according to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. The proposed location at 15 2nd Avenue is too difficult for parolees to reach.
“When you’re on parole, cab fare can be the difference between violating and not violating,” he told The Brooklyn Paper. “We shouldn’t make it more challenging.”
 Assemblywoman Joan Millman and her presumptive successor, District Leader JoAnne Simon have also questioned the logic of siting the office in such a remote location.

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