ORCHARD BEACH, Bronx (PIX11) — Mayor Eric Adams is defending the construction of a series of giant semi-permanent tents in the parking lot of Orchard Beach to be used as a migrant relief center.

State officials briefed on the construction said up to five of the tent-like structures would be put in place and ready to receive migrants arriving by buses from Texas next week.

There’s been significant concern about this flood-prone parking lot near Orchard Beach being used. Adams was pressed about the flooding concerns as well as safety and park access.

“For people who say it’s inhumane to use tents, what are people talking about?” Adams said. “There was a tent in Central Park for COVID.”

Adams said more than 50 sites were evaluated across the city and he defended choosing the parking lot. He said if there is a major storm event, the migrants being processed there — for no more than 96 hours — will be moved.

“We’re going to open more sites, and this is not long-term,” Adams said. “Let’s be clear. This is not long-term. This is not a shelter issue. This is a refugee humanitarian migrant crisis.”

However, the mayor would not promise the relief centers would meet the same standards of well-spaced beds, supplies, mail and laundry services, etc., guaranteed by law in the city’s shelter system.

Conditions at the site are not the only concern, especially for neighbors like Joanne Mennona. She dropped by to see the site with her dog Bandit.

“I bring her every weekend and at like 7 o’clock in the morning,” she said. “So my main concern is am I going to be safe with her because when I come in the morning, there is really nobody here.”

State Assemblyman Michael Benedetto represents the area and is generally supportive of the mayor’s plan.

He underscored this was a difficult humanitarian mission and has been trying to reassure residents they can still safely access the park for the next few months.