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CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) One local gardener can keep his plot of land, at least for now. A social media campaign over the weekend caused quite a stir not only in Iowa but in some other states as well.
The garden in question is just a few steps away from Ed Thorntons apartment, so its a pretty convenient hobby. The catch, and why the city has a problem with the garden, is the Ed doesnt own the land, the city does.
Ed says he knew the city owned the land when he started planting four years ago.
"But it seemed to me that if they're not doing anything with it, and I'm keeping it up, they haven't mowed this lot in four years, said Thornton as he pulled weeds.
The space is two of the 1,200 vacant lots that the city maintains.
With no plans for development the Ed could see, he put in a garden, giving what he grows away to whoever comes by.
The problem is the city wants to use it for new housing.
"Developers take a look at those lots, see how salable they are, try get a buyer in hand and then bring those to us and try to get approved for that program so that could happen anytime, said Cedar Rapids Assistant City Manager Sandi Fowler.
City leaders sent Ed letters letting him hed have to give up the land. He says he tried to talk to someone from the city on Friday but got nowhere.
He then took to the internet and got more than 1,000 signatures on a petition supporting the garden. Just today, the city came to him to settle the issue.
"If it wasn't for things like Facebook and twitter and change.org and YouTube, this never would have happened, said Thornton.
Both sides decided Ed could harvest what hes growing now then give up the garden on October 31st.
"I don't ride Harleys, I don't fly model airplanes, and Im not in the chess club, said Thornton. This is what I like to do."
The plants live on for a few months, and Ed knows the Community in Community Garden is more than just a word.
Ed says after October 31st, hell start figuring out what hell do next. He says hell need to live near his garden if he plants another, so it might involve moving somewhere where he can plant.