to Nicholas Johnson's Coralville Rain Forest Web Site
10 Issues to Watch in 2006
Iowa City Press-Citizen
January 2, 2006
The rain forest needs to raise substantial private money before any public officials approve more public money or public financing for it. Until [then] there is no reason to explore other issues, including building and operational costs.
The Press-Citizen regularly picks "10 issues" at the beginning of the year, and then returns to report on them one year later. For 2006 it selected: Public School Changes, Deal Riverside In, Anybody Want a Rain Forest Project?, The Upscailing of Downtown, Retail Here, There, Everywhere, Housing in All Directions, North Corridor Road Work, But Where's the Affordable Housing, Work Force Training/Diversity, and What's Next for Coralville. The excerpts, below, are of items related to the rain forest project.
[Note: This material is copyright by the Press-Citizen, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Iowa City Press-Citizen.]
Coralville's decision to look at other development possibilities for the prime land south of Interstate 80 and east of First Avenue was a major setback for the $180 million rain forest project, officially known as The Environmental Project. Now several other communities are interested in hosting the project.
Our position on the rain forest project is clear. It needs to raise substantial private money before any public officials approve more public money or public financing for it. We believe that is the case regardless of whether the $180 million project is in Coralville, Riverside, Tiffin or Timbuktu. Until there is more private money in hand, there is no reason to explore other issues, including building and operational costs.
What's Next for Coralville?
Now that the relationship with the rain forest project has ended, or at least changed (insert "dating around" metaphor here), Coralville has 20-some acres of land just primed for development. And no local government in the area has a better track record of development success; you don't have to look any farther than Coral Ridge mall to realize that.
The possibilities seem limitless. It's obviously important for Coralville and the entire region that whatever goes on that land succeeds. With its hotel/conference center project well under way there, the other development is key. We hope there will e adequate opportunity for public input. Could the rain forest still end up in Coralville? Well, it seems to us that Coralville is the location in our area that gives the rain forest the greatest chance at success. But -- and we really hate to be so repetitious -- the rain forest must raise substantial public money [sic; note above the insistence on "private money"].