Rikers Island could be replaced by a solar farm.
The New York City Council introduced three bills aimed at transforming the infamous jail complex into a renewable energy and wastewater treatment facility. The jail, well known for its violent history, is projected to close by 2027.
If passed, the bills would require the city to investigate the potential cost of installing renewable energy and batteries on the 400-acre island. It would also require the city to start a study on how much it would cost to install a water treatment facility.
They would also transfer the deed of the island from the Department of Corrections to the Department Protection. The third bill would allow the city’s energy department to start converting the island when the inmate population drops below 5,000. There are approximately 10,000 inmates currently held on the island.
Proponents of the bills say they will both help keep the land out of the hands of luxury developers and offset pollution in working-class neighborhoods in New York City. They were introduced only two months after the City Council passed the Climate Mobilization Act, a package of bills aimed at moving NYC toward more sustainable energy sources.
“We know all the atrocities that have happened on Rikers Island for close to 100 years,” Bill co-author and Queens Councilman Costa Constantinides told the Huffington Post. “It’s important that we start planning for this renewable future now.”