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Dumpsters Filled With Plants and Trees Coming to Gowanus This Summer

 A rendering of the greenery-filled Dumpsters that Alloy Development plans to install in Gowanus this summer.
A rendering of the greenery-filled Dumpsters that Alloy Development plans to install in Gowanus this summer.
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Alloy Development

GOWANUS — Dumpsters brimming with greenery, not trash, are coming to Gowanus this summer, thanks to a developer with big plans in the neighborhood.

DUMBO-based Alloy Development will install 10 Dumpsters filled with potting soil and plants around the rapidly changing industrial neighborhood to raise awareness about how stormwater runoff pollutes the Gowanus Canal.

Dubbed the 2,000 Gallon Project, the repurposed 11-foot-long Dumpsters will help soak up rain that would otherwise flow into the city sewer system, a situation that overwhelms city pipes during big storms and forces raw sewage into the canal.

Alloy, which plans to move its headquarters to 431 Carroll St. next year, will cover "most of" the cost of the the Dumpster-driven eco-awareness campaign and sponsors will chip in the rest, a spokesman for the developer said.

"We always look for creative things to do in the community before we start construction of our projects," said A.J. Pires, Alloy’s executive vice president.

"In this case as we thought about what it means to live and work in Gowanus, it became clear that water management is a critical issue for Gowanus. We hope the project can help draw attention to the issue while we wait for the larger remedies the government is planning."

Before building 1 John St. in DUMBO, Alloy installed a similarly-themed project, a "pasture" to green the area.

Alloy plans to install four of the Dumpsters near its 431 Carroll St. property and scatter six others throughout the neighborhood at:

► 200 Third Ave. between Degraw and Douglass streets, near Thomas Greene Park and "Double D" pool

► 285 Nevins St. between Sackett and Union streets, outside Freeks Mill restaurant

► 450 Union St., between Bond Street and the canal, near the wedding venue The Green Building

► 305 Nevins St., between Union and President streets, outside Ample Hills Creamery

► 155 Third St., between the canal and Bond Street, outside the offices of Monadnock Construction, a co-sponsor of the project and builder of Alloy's DUMBO waterfront high-rise, 1 John St.

Alloy will also place a Dumpster at 234 Butler St., between Nevins and Bond streets, where the developer has said it wants to build a creative office complex.

However that vision could be stalled because that property will likely be the site of a massive underground sewage tank that's part of the Gowanus Canal Superfund cleanup.

Each Dumpster will have signage directing people to the 2,000 Gallon Project website, which will enlighten viewers on the stormwater runoff issue. Two of the Dumpsters will have seating, and the entire project is being installed under the Department of Transportation's street seats program, which aims to enliven sleepy thoroughfares. Each Dumpster will take up one parking spot.

The Community Board 6 transportation approved the plan last week and the first of the Dumpsters will be installed starting July 4. The nonprofit Gowanus Canal Conservancy will tend the makeshift gardens over the summer, then replant the greenery elsewhere in the neighborhood in the fall when the Dumpsters are removed.

Gowanus Canal Conservancy executive director Andrea Parker called the 2,000 Gallon Project Dumpsters a "a bright and bold way to engage the Gowanus community with stormwater management as well as to nurture 20 much-needed new Gowanus street trees."

She added, "377 million gallons of combined sewer overflow enter the Canal each year — each 2,000 gallon planter helps visualize the scope of the problem, why we need trees, green roofs, bioswales and sewage tanks, and how each of us can pitch in, via rain barrels or shorter showers, to make Gowanus Blue."

► RELATED: City Building 90 'Curbside Gardens' to Help Clean Gowanus Canal

► RELATED: $52 Million Project to Reduce Gowanus Flooding to Begin Soon

► RELATED: Two Gowanus Canal Cleanup Projects Gearing Up

► RELATED: Parks Department Wants Community Input on Little-Known Gowanus Playground