March 23, 2021 By Allie Griffin
The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) will present updated plans for the future Kew Gardens jail parking garage and community space — part of the borough-based jails plan — at a local community board meeting Thursday evening.
The department will present the renderings and collect feedback from members of the Queens Community Board 9 Land Use Committee at a virtual meeting Thursday at 7:15 p.m.
The city plans to begin the construction process of the parking garage — which will sit across from Queens Borough Hall — later this month, according to a copy of the presentation obtained by the Queens Post.
DDC will begin assessments and surveys of the site this month and excavation of the site this summer. The parking garage and community space are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2023, according to the timeline.
The plan for the facilities coincides with the city’s plan to build a 19-story jail next to the parking garage–at the site of the decommissioned Queens Detention facility at 182-02 82nd Ave. The city plans to begin the design and construction process of the jail in 2023.
The city plans to build three other borough-based jails–with one in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx–in order to replace the jail complex on Rikers Island, which is set to shutter by 2026.
The City Council voted to approve the borough-based jails plan in 2019, despite all four community boards where the jails will be sited rejecting it.
Queens Community Board 9 unanimously voted against the jail plan, arguing that large jails shouldn’t go up in residential areas.
Last year, two Queens groups filed a joint suit against the city to challenge its plans to build the jail in Kew Gardens.
Local opposition to the plan has not ceased since then.
Leaders of the Kew Gardens Civic Association (KGCA) sent an email to members condemning the plans for the parking garage and community space, according to a Queens blog.
“These plans had NO community input and they are very different and far removed from those concepts described or implied during previous discussions over the last two years,” the president and executive chairman of the KGCA wrote in the email.
“In this they are like the plans for the jail project itself — developed in secret by a small group in the Mayor’s office with no input from any affected community or the Community Board and let loose upon us as a done deal.”
The KGCA didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
The details of the Community Board 9 committee meeting are below.