New York City Bills Would Set The Stage To Replace Rikers Island Jail With A Solar Farm

The New York City Council is preparing to consider a trio of bills that would set the stage to convert the infamously violent jail complex on Rikers Island into a solar farm and wastewater treatment facility.

The bills mark what Queens Councilman Costa Constantinides, whose district lies just south of the jail complex, described as a bid to not only ensure the 400-acre island remains out of the grasp of luxury developers but also to curtail pollution in working-class neighborhoods and to broaden the scope of the historic Green New Deal legislation he helped pass last month.

If completed, the project would transform Rikers Island into a public utility hub that Constantinides said would make it easier to close the two dozen oil- and gas-burning power plants within city limits. The jail is slated to close by 2027, though that timeline could speed up. 

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