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Rain Forest Prime Topic for April Fool's Day


Iowa City Press-Citizen

April 1, 2006

[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.]

Well, Coralville officially has been kicked off the rain forest ("Rain forest finalists named," March 30).

Considering the reality TV-like aura surrounding the planning for the proposed Environmental Group project, it's not surprising that the project directors did not announce a single destination Wednesday, as had been promised, but rather decided to ensure that the excitement and anticipation would continue for yet another round of competition.

Now, four finalists -- Tiffin, Riverside, Grinnell and Pella -- remain in play for the full $180 million version of the rain forest, and one finalist, Dubuque, is still in the running for a scaled-back version of the project.

From our perspective, the two cities eliminated from consideration, Coralville and Des Moines, are the real winners in this competition. After being bullied for years to give money to this project, Coralville now can take full advantage of its prime real estate at First Avenue and I-80 -- land that should have been developed years ago.

Rather than voice any regrets, city officials should offer each other high-fives and hearty congratulations.

Good luck to the remaining contestants. If you decide that this project isn't worth the $25 million that you would have raise to claim the prize, just remember that you don't have to wait until the Environmental Project decides to kick you off the rain forest.

Indeed, it may string you along for yet another season just to keep up the ratings.