Braunstein and Vallone Oppose Corrections Facility at Fort Totten
Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) and Council Member Paul Vallone announced their opposition to a NYC Department of Corrections (DOC) Training Facility at Fort Totten.
“I strongly oppose the creation of a new DOC training facility at Fort Totten and find it outrageous that the City is secretly considering this proposal which could have a detrimental impact on our parkland,” said Assemblyman Braunstein. “Recently, Community Board 7 notified my office that DOC was considering a facility at Fort Totten. Upon receiving this information, my requests to various city agencies have failed to result in any substantive information. This is despite the fact that the City of New York has been considering this proposal as far back as 2015. Unfortunately, the only way I received this information was through an anonymous mailing sent to my District Office. It is absolutely unacceptable that a proposal of this magnitude was not shared with elected officials and the community board for over two years. Given the lack of transparency and absence of public input, I call on Mayor de Blasio to immediately abandon any plans for a DOC facility at the Fort Totten campus.”
“It is gravely concerning when any of our parks, especially a place as special as Fort Totten, is targeted for development,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “Fort Totten's location is nestled in a small residential community that lacks the infrastructure, public transportation and accessibility for a development of this magnitude."
The anonymous mailing to Assemblyman Braunstein’s office included a copy of FDNY’s “Agency Training Operations and Planned Re-Development At Fort Totten, Queens,” dated September 26, 2017. According to the documents, “…over the past two years, the City has moved aggressively to determine not only the overall scope/cost of the agency’s re-use goals but has looked to re-use a portion of the campus to create a permanent home for the City’s Department of Correction (DOC) Training Academy. In 2015, the Fire Department, working with the City’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) initiated the first of two major consultant studies. With the utility study completed the Department, along with OMB, DDC, and DOC initiated an analysis of classroom requirements to realize the Fire Department’s training goals and to create a new DOC academy. The study….will be completed in late January 2018.”
The documents also state that “the plans for the Department of Correction include the reuse and significant modification of Buildings 322 and 323. The plan…would renovate the front portions of each building (facing the soccer fields/old parade grounds) while demolishing the rear parts of each structure with a new building put in its place to accommodate all DOC training needs. The plan would also include bus parking for students and an approximate 180 space below grade parking facility for DOC instructors and administrators. As part of this process the City is presently developing a revised Federal Property Conveyance application. It is hoped that the revised application will be ready for submission to the Federal Department of Education by year’s end.”