Officials consider solar farm, wastewater treatment plant for Rikers Island's future

What's next for the famous prison when it closes in 2027?


Mark D. Stein
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

RIKERS ISLAND, N.Y. — What’s next for Rikers Island when the massive prison facility closes in 2027?

How about a solar farm and wastewater treatment plant, says Queens Councilman Costa Constantinides.

Rikers Island jail complex stands in New York with the Manhattan skyline in the background. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Rikers Island jail complex stands in New York with the Manhattan skyline in the background. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Other recommendations for the future of the gigantic, 413-acre site include housing or a new runway for LaGuardia Airport.

“You’re not going to bring large buildings there,” Constantinides said, according to a Crain’s New York report Tuesday. “You’re not going to build a new runway, tear up the [marine] ecosystem there. It’s not appealing to anyone in this neighborhood."

Constantinides, a Democrat from Astoria, said just a quarter of Rikers’ surface being dedicated to solar panels and battery installations to store solar-generated energy would allow the city to close the gas- and oil-burning power plants in his district and beyond, writes Crain’s.

As for where inmates will stay when Rikers closes in eight years, four “smaller, safer and fairer” jails are expected to open in every borough except Staten Island.

While Mayor Bill de Blasio has maintained Staten Island will not be home to a prison, a recent report released by an independent commission, which the Advance wrote about in December, says the city should re-examine constructing a jail on Staten Island.

The borough previously housed the state-run Arthur Kill Correctional Facility. It closed in 2011.

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©2019 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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