L E H A V R E
N E W S
F E B R U A R Y Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Ryan Joseph Daley of Bayside NY
City urged to ‘immediately abandon’ plans
for Corrections facility in Bayside
BY SUZANNE MONTEVERDI
email@example.com / @smont76
Bayside should not be the site of a proposed
Department of Corrections (DOC) training facility,
according to two lawmakers.
Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and Councilman
Paul Vallone are the latest local leaders to speak out
against the DOC plan to bring its training academy to
Fort Totten in the Bay Terrace section of the neighborhood.
The agency is currently working with the
Department of Design and Construction (DDC) on a
feasibility study for the site.
Community Board 7 first raised concerns with
the proposal at a general meeting in October 2017,
where FDNY officials stopped by to share plans to
construct a wind turbine in the southeast portion of
the fort. While board members were initially open to
the proposal, the mood changed when board member
Chuck Apelian announced he received word the DOC
is actively considering Fort Totten for its training
Remarks made by former DOC Commissioner
Joseph Ponte in May 2017 confirmed the agency’s
interest in the site. The city has allocated $100 million
for the new training academy.
Braunstein called the city’s desire to further develop
Fort Totten “outrageous.”
“Recently, Community Board 7 notified my office
that DOC was considering a facility at Fort Totten,”
he said. “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.”
The lawmaker also recently received an anonymous
8 LEHAVRE COURIER | FEBRUARY 2018 | WWW.QNS.COM
mailer that included a copy of the city
Fire Department’s “Agency Training Operations and
Planned Re-Development At Fort Totten, Queens”
report, dated Sept. 26. Should the DOC plan move
forward at the Fort, two buildings near the the soccer
fields/old parade grounds would have to undergo
renovation and demolition work to accommodate the
new facility, according to the document. Bus parking
for students and a 180-space, below-grade parking
facility for DOC instructors and administrators would
also be built.
The city has “moved aggressively” over the last
two years to explore whether the expansion is feasible,
the report said.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that a proposal of this
magnitude was not shared with elected officials and
the community board for over two years,” Braunstein
said. “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
Vallone said the city’s move was “gravely concerning.”
“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,” he said.
Fort Totten was formally an active U.S. Army
installation and is currently used by the U.S. Army
Reserve, NYPD and FDNY. Certain portions are
designated public park areas.
Earlier this month, state Senator Tony Avella also
raised concerns about the city’s plans for the site.
In a letter addressed to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the
lawmaker called for increased transparency. He also
questioned whether DOC’s interest in Fort Totten
pertained to the city’s move to create neighborhood
based jail sites.
A DOC spokesperson told QNS the Fort Totten
feasibility study is still in the works and “does not
include plans for a new jail.”
A view from inside Fort Totten