Hey deB: If you build the jail, invest in Mott Haven

Hey deB: If you build the jail, invest in Mott Haven
Walter Nash, a Concord Avenues resident stands otuside of his behind the to-be-built jail land.
Schneps Media/ Alex Mitchell

For the city to pursue its widely criticized plan to erect a 24-story jail in Mott Haven there must be significant economic investment made into the borough to offset this severe disinvestment in a community that’s struggled for many years.

What Mott Haven needs from the city are positive investments in housing, community centers, alternatives to incarceration where individuals will come out less likely to commit a crime rather than be scarred for life, just to name a few.

Diego Beekman Mutual Housing put together an area study that determined that Mott Haven’s East 138th Street to be a food desert.

The local stakeholders wanted to build a supermarket on the property where the jail is set to go at 320 Concord Avenue. Instead the community is getting a skyline make over – the tallest building in the neighborhood,

So NYC, what can you do for this community? What sort of investments are you willing to make to improve their quality of lives when they to endure a face-to-face future with a jail only two blocks from the area’s lone elementary school.

I’m sure that many community leaders in Mott Haven would be willing to meet at the Betances Community Center next to St. Mary’s Park, after all that’s where details of the community’s unwelcomed addition were disclosed.

Is it too much to simply repair the jagged streets along Bruckner Boulevard? How about investing in the schools surrounding the jail? Perhaps even keep necessary affordable housing in good condition?

Those are just the ‘nuts and bolts’ we’re talking about here.

This is not to say that Rikers Island shouldn’t be closed down and replaced with healthier, smarter approaches to criminal justice. This is simply saying that by trying to help the city the Bronx is once again being hurt.

We can’t stand for that kind of culture anymore, our borough deserves more and despite this enormous setback, the city government has an opportunity to provide the Bronx with assets and funding that it has been neglected.

After all NYC, you found the billions of dollars to build the Mott Haven’s jail.

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