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Running Through 2005

The Press-Citizen Reviews the Year's Top 10 Stories


Iowa City Press-Citizen

December 31, 2005

The rain forest made two of the Press-Citizen's year-end lists: the Year's Top 10 Stories, and 2005's Top 10 Issues, Then (January) and Now (December).

[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.]

As Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast and a new pope was elected, the Iowa City area made some news of its own in 2005 -- a year marked by tragedy, triumph, protest and progress.

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No rain forest in Coralville?

The prospect of a $180 million rain forest being built in Coralville suffered a serious and possible fatal setback earlier this month as project leaders told city officials they would start talking with other cities but keep Coralville open as an option.

Coralville officials, in turn, said they would not compete with other cities for the project and would look at other development options for the land.

Less than a week later, Environmental Project officials and Coralville representatives met and stated that "headway" had been made although a newly appointed selection team also would "evaluate offers received from other Iowa communities."

Meanwhile, other Iowa cities, including Tiffin, Riverside, Des Moines and Dubuque and have expressed interest in the project.

2005's Top 10 Issues: A Year Later

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Coralville industrial park

Coralville’s rejuvenation of its old industrial park faced two significant problems during the past year: Bids to build the city’s proposed hotel/conference center came $10 million above budget, and The Environmental Project didn’t pick up any major non-government donors.

• Our view then: We hope Coralville’s redevelopment project will succeed. But if the hotel and the rain forest fall through, the city will have much explaining to do.

• Our view now: The city has made significant progress on the hotel/conference center. It is now looking at development possibilities other than the rain forest for the rest of the former industrial park site. Given the inability of The Environmental Project to come up with additional funding and other factors, we believe that is wise.