Locals mobilize against parole center in the Gowanus area. Photo by Joshua Kristal
A new group — Gowanus United — is meeting Thursday night, Oct. 23, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Al-Madinah School at 383 3rd Avenue at 5th Street to discuss the efforts to block the state and city’s planned January opening of a massive parole center on 2nd Avenue, near the mega Whole Foods on Third Avenue. Check it out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NoBrooklynParoleMegaSite
The state for three years has planned on consolidating Brooklyn’s three patrol facilities into one mega site — which will see 300 to 400 parolees a day, or 40 an hour — at a large building at 15 Second Ave., at 5th St. But the state did not announce the opening until July 2014, and, according to local officials, did not provide notice to the local community.
To fight the plan, residents, business owners, artists and civic groups have mobilized and formed Gowanus United (GU).
“Together we are determined to do what we could never do alone — and we need you to help ensure our success,” the group said in a statement.
“The building is close to schools and other places where children congregate in a neighborhood that is poorly served by mass transit and already struggling with congested streets and limited parking. The State acted in complete secrecy and with no regard for the vibrant, mixed-use, family-oriented neighborhood surrounding the site. For more information, see our attached flyer or visit our website http://gowanusunited.org/,” the group wrote.
GU is attacking the problem on three fronts: (1) legal, (2) political, and (3) through grassroots community support.
According to news site DNAInfo, City Councilman Brad Lander said he supports the state correction agency’s mission of helping former inmates, but he was “disappointed” that DOCCS failed to tell locals of plans for the new office until July 2014 — nearly three years after the agency started its search for a new building.