Vacant Lot – Need Dirt


    Hi All, My block association wants to transform a vacant lot into a garden. The lot is completing overgrown, has tons of debris, trees and garbage. Our biggest challenge is that there is a 20ft drop or sinkhole in the lot that we need backfilled. Does anyone have any expereince with combating this situation. It seems like we would need to backfill the lot first, in order to get in there and clean out because of the danger. I am trying to get the NY Restoration Project to give suggestions on how to begin, parks department too.Any suggestions?

    11 Replies

    1. do you have site control and the insurance issue worked out? if you don’t have permission from the owner, he/she can padlock the lot after you’ve made these improvements. parks, nyrp, bbg or greenthumb can’t help if you don’t have express permission from the owner.

    2. I have a huge mountain of dirt available for pickup in Gravesend, Bklyn if anyone is interested…thanks 🙂

    3. Call GreenThumb with the Parks Dept. If you’re starting a new garden, you should get GreenThumb involved to help you figure it out.

    4. You should get the soil tested first – If it’s been a dumping ground it’s probably got 10 – 20 times the amount of lead and mercury you would want to grow crops in it. In that case you may be better off filling the hole with the existing soil on the property and putting in 3 feet of fresh topsoil and loam over a bed of lime (high PH restricts lead uptake) in case any roots get down there.

    5. ctlee: we may be starting work on our back garden next month and there will be a decent amount of demo, including soil, clay, and rocks. would be happy to donate if we could coordinate pickup or dropoff of the material. if you’re interested, post a contact email or tel. and i will be in touch.

    6. ctlee7:
      how did your blcok assoc get the vacant lot owners to agree to that? We have a similar situation but the lot owners refused our request to garden there. the lot has been vacant for decades and is neglected. I am guessing the lot owners don’t see a benefit, and may even see potential liability, or potential impairment of ownership. They want to be able to develop or sell the land at some point.

    7. Where are you? I have rocks I’d like to get rid of – not a ton but quite a few I’ve dug up from my garden. About fist-size – 2 20-lb cat litter bags of them

    8. Wow – I am so happy to read this. I did (my own) landscaping last summer, and still have a huge pile of dirt to move out.

      I have at least 10 cubic feet of authentic Brooklyn dirt – mix of topsoil and clay. Any chance you can pick it up? I can get it curbside no problem. In Boerum Hill.