Future of Rikers

The City Council passed legislation in October 2019 to close the jail complex on Rikers Island, after decades of controversial operation. An application before the City Planning Commission would change the City Map to establish all of Rikers Island as a “Public Place,” a designation preventing Rikers being used for incarceration starting in 2027.

Rarely does a site so large - 413 acres - become available for development. As a proponent of combating climate change and ushering in a clean energy economy, I strongly favor locating renewable energy sources in any development plan. To help generate good-paying “green” jobs, including for those who were incarcerated or affected by jail operations, I also strongly favor locating educational and job training programs adjacent to these energy sources. As a Council Member, I will:

  • Ensure that any proposal for new development addresses the history of the island and the impact it has had on certain communities.

  • Adamantly push for transparent environmental reviews to protect workers and the surrounding communities.

  • Seek transfer of jurisdiction over the island from the Department of Corrections  to an agency that can best act on the pending designation of a Public Place and further ensure the voice of communities in all future planning and development.

  • Sponsor and support passage of the “Renewable Rikers” legislation to convert the island into a hub of environmental sustainability. This allows for the closure of older, fossil-fuel “peaker” power plants like the one in Queensbridge that has affected our residents with asthma through localized air pollution. Also allows closing aging wastewater treatment plants throughout the city.