Planned parolee reporting facility continues to upset residents
by Chase Collum
Aug 08, 2014 | 497 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Despite community backlash, construction on a new Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) office continues at 15 Second Ave. in Gowanus.

The 55,000-sq.-ft. facility will serve as the DOCCS main Brooklyn area offices, specifically for Community Supervision staff.

According to a DOCCS representative, 18,000 sq. ft. of that space will be utilized as a parolee reporting station. About 150 employees, mostly peace officers, will work at the new location, and approximately 5,000 parolees will report there for community re-integration.

Paul Bastile, founder of the Gowanus Alliance, sees the move as a lost opportunity for continued industrial growth in the area. More than that, he was upset by the lack of community involvement in choosing a tenant for the large property.

“There was no conversation with [Community Board] 6 or the local community as to how this would affect the residents and the businesses,” Bastile said. “The state did not consult the community at all, and there are a lot of people here who have serious safety concerns.”

One such business owner, Stephen Giumenta, who owns Architectural Grille at 42 Second Ave., said his main concern is the safety of his employees and customers, “as well as the security of our building and equipment, day and night.

“Even though we do not live in this area, my employees, family and I spend more hours here than at our homes. Safety is a serious concern,” he said, adding, “I do not know how something like this could get approved, funded and built without any notice to the public.”

In a July 2 letter to CB 6, property manager Chaim Simkowitz announced the decision to host DOCCS. He also said in the letter than he hadn’t alerted the community because no special permissions were needed to proceed.

The DOCCS representative pointed out that the space will serve as a centralized office location for DOC.

The representative also said there has been a parolee reporting facility in Brooklyn for many years now, and they “haven’t had any problems.”

There is no word as to when DOCCS will move into the facility.

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