A Kingston developer has gone public with his plans to repurpose the former “Prison for Women,” which functioned as a maximum-security correctional institution in the Kingston area from 1934 to 2000.
ABNA Investments is currently finalizing plans to buy the mothballed prison from Queen’s University, offering a clearer picture of what’s planned for the site. Nate Doornekamp, with ABNA, was at Tuesday night’s Kingston City Council meeting and shed some light on the project.
“Residential, some commercial, a mixture of several uses [will be among plans for the site],” Doornekamp said. “We want to get some community input. There’s great opportunity for some green space.”
Several steps, including cleanup of environmental contamination, would need to be addressed before the deal can be finalized, as well as keeping the heritage of the building preserved. The developer also plans to create a memorial on the site to recognize female inmates who died while at the prison, a request that comes from a former inmate. Ann Hansen spent about 7 years at the Prison for Women.
“The very least that we could have would be a little memorial garden, 12 x 12, a couple of benches,” Hansen said, “just something to remember those women.”
Doornekamp says the prison has a very negative history and ABNA would be remiss in not paying homage to it. After the former Prison for Women closed in the spring of 2000, Queen’s University bought the property in 2008.