Residents in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx expressed outrage Thursday evening over a proposal to locate a jail in their neighborhood.
"It's like closing Rikers and building a new Rikers in the South Bronx when we're already overburdened and underserved," said Mott Haven native Mychal Johnson, a co-founder of South Bronx United.
Over 300 residents and community leaders packed the auditorium at P.S. 65, speaking out against Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to build a jail on the site of what is currently an NYPD impound lot in the neighborhood.
"There are a lot of questions here — more questions than answers," Community Board Member Paul Philps said.
The proposal is part of the Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to close Rikers Island and replace it with smaller jails across the city.
Organizers have said it would be a setback for the neighborhood, which is already home to several shelters and drug treatment programs.
"This is a neighborhood that, you know, has suffered a great deal over the decades but is really trying to bounce back," Philps said.
"The community is not happy at all. We have a lot of corrections officers, as well, who are not too happy with, I guess, the jail coming to this part of the Bronx," said Gabriel DeJesus, the president of the 40th Precinct Community Council. "We have to see how we can work it out where everyone comes to a mutual agreement on what's going to be built there."
Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced the plan for the new jail last month.
But Johnson publicly expressed his misgivings just a few days later.
De Blasio was invited to the public meeting Thursday, with a chair reserved for him on the stage, but the mayor did not attend.
The mayor's office did not return a request for comment, as of the time of this story broadcast.