YONKERS, N.Y. - I want to tell you a story.
Every time I go by the 86-year-old city jail near the waterfront on Alexander Street in Yonkers, I think that is exactly the wrong place for a jail. Yonkers’ downtown waterfront is a destination with great restaurants, luxury living, businesses and parks like the recently “daylighted” Saw Mill River. Simply put: our best real estate is not the place for a jail. So when I came into office in 2012 I said we should build a new jail somewhere else and re-utilize the old one to continue the economic growth of our waterfront. As I found out, the City already built a new jail 22 years ago in the Cacace Justice Center that houses the police department and courts. The problem is the City never used it – until now. For 22 years, instead of housing those in custody, the Cacace Justice Center Jail was filled with furniture and files. For two decades Yonkers kept old chairs and boxes of paperwork locked behind bars. Now their sentence is up. After 22 years I’m proud to say that beginning Sunday, September 22 the Cacace Justice Center Jail will finally be used for its intended purpose. Retrofitted with a state-of-the-art security system, the jail will streamline detention operations, enhance officer safety and save taxpayer dollars. Because the jail is housed in the same building as the courts, the City will no longer have to transport those in custody to and from their court appearances, reducing travel and personnel expenses, and overtime costs. So what about the old jail? We’re going to re-utilize the 86-year-old building for its rightful purpose – to attract people to our downtown restaurants, shops and attractions. This story is all about better ways of running government. Cutting the red tape that was mysteriously put across the jail for so many years at the Cacace Justice Center is an example of how we are applying good, common sense to operating city government.
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