THE BRONX - Residents in Melrose are looking to create a community garden out of an empty lot by East 159th Street.

The Department of Transportation shut down what used to be 159th Street 30 years ago. The area is now empty.

Resident Victor Maldonado is working to turn the steep slope into a public sanctuary. With 596 acres at their disposal, Maldonado and his neighbors are urging the DOT to allow them to use the space.

"We reached out to DOT and they say they do have plans on building stairs for the people to access, but if I'm not mistaken, I think that plan is for the next 200 years from now or hundred from now. Not now anytime soon."

The New Life School is next door to the space and the students have a gardening club that is currently operating indoors.