THE BRONX, N.Y. (PIX11) — It’s a huge green victory for one Bronx community. Dozens of volunteers worked to renovate the Waterfront Community Garden on Gildersleeve Avenue.

From a rat-infested landfill transformed into a community garden, it has been a hub for the community since 1989. Community leaders said it is a hidden gem that needs a little TLC. 

Gus Dinolis, 69, from the Bronx, remembered when he first stepped inside the space. It was an abandoned lot, a dumping ground, a real eyesore, said Dinolis.

Dinolis saw problems but also potential. He dreamed of transforming it into a beautiful community space for families to enjoy. After pushing elected officials and city agencies and a little hard work, he helped transform the place. 

Thirty years later, Dinolis is still bringing his community together. This time, GrowNYC and Tito’s Handmade Vodka joined forces, and 30 volunteers spent the day repairing and replacing garden beds and picnic tables—all with a passion for gardening and community. 

Dinolis said it wouldn’t be possible without the support of the New York botanical gardens, the New York City Parks Department, and their green thumb program that has helped create 550 gardens across the city.  

“With over 550 GreenThumb community gardens, these local greenspaces are essential for helping New Yorkers to connect with each other and with hundreds of volunteer community groups who steward these green oases all across the city,” said NYC Parks GreenThumb Director Carlos Martinez. “We are excited about the collaborations with greening partners such as GrowNYC, which help us expand our work to support and sustain a network of community gardeners and urban farmers.”

GrowNYC led this effort and has built 150 community gardens totaling a million square feet of green space in New York City. 

The message is the community grows best together, said Dinolis.

The renovations will be completed this fall, and there will be a block party on Aug. 19 to celebrate.