Against a backdrop of boisterous opposition, Mayor Bill De Blasio has dropped a plan to build a jail in Manhattan Chinatown, reports China Daily.
It was one of four neighborhood jails the administration wanted to build to replace Riker Island. None of them will be constructed after the mayor abandoned his plans this week.
“Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of people in the community oppose the expansion of the current detention center,” said Eric Ng, president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, to Voices of New York. “The community is facing many challenges such as education, housing and small business development. It badly needs assistance. Why can’t the city invest more money to solve these problems rather than building a jail?”
City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who many criticized for not opposing the plans, said the decision by the mayor is a sign the community’s voices were heard.
“The community’s concerns and input about the future of this facility matter,” she said in a statement.
There is now talk of expanding the current detention facility at 125 White Street.
“It is premature [to claim a victory],” said Mae Lee, executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association. “125 White St. is closer to Chinatown than 80 Centre St. This seems like a worse plan.”
State Sen. Brian Kavanagh also expressed concerns.
“On the one hand, the city has given up 80 Centre St., meaning it has heard the voice of the community. On the other hand, the city is launching another plan without discussing it with the community,” said Kavanagh. “The White Street detention center will be 500 feet [in height] and about 50 floors. This is not an expansion, it is a new construction.”
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