Planners name advisory panel

Coralville projects get citizen input

By Gigi Wood
Iowa City Press-Citizen

Friday, May 21, 2004

A 26-member panel of teachers, lawmakers and business owners will help design a 150-acre Iowa River Landing Development in Coralville, planners announced Thursday.

The development includes the Iowa Environmental/Education Project, Coralville's hotel and conference center and the surrounding area. Officials with the various projects unveiled the River Landing name and panel to about 200 people at a Noon Rotary Club luncheon at the University Athletic Center.
"The committee will be eliciting community input and facilitating the design of this project," said Nancy Quellhorst, vice president of the Iowa Environmental/ Education Project. "They will be helping to sculpt and mold this."

Panel members will meet to discuss their ideas for the projects and determine ways the River Landing development can meet the needs of area residents.

IEEP, the largest of the projects, consists of a 4.5-acre indoor tropical rain forest, 1 million gallon freshwater aquarium, 50,000- square-foot learning center, galleries on Iowa's prairie ecosystem, geology and agriculture and, outside, 10 acres of recreated Iowa prairie and wetlands. Groundbreaking is planned for the fall and the site is expected to open in 2008.

Quellhorst said the public would be invited to tour the construction site in 2005, 2006 and 2007 to take a peek at the project. A proposed expansion of the project is planned for 2013.

The next 18 months will be spent on site infrastructure, including the installation of sanitary, sewer, water and electrical lines. The intersection at First Avenue and Fifth Street will be remodeled this summer.

"We will have a new Interstate 80 ramp at First Avenue, similar to what was built for the Coral Ridge Mall," Coralville City Administrator Kelly Hayworth said. "Later this fall, we'll begin work on the Ninth Street entrance to the site and create a roundabout in front of the hotel."

Hayworth said environmental and wetland assessments have been completed, as well as archeological and flood plain surveys.

One-third of the project is open space that will be converted into trails and parks, which eventually will connect to Iowa City by way of a pedestrian bridge.

David Oman, chief administrator of the rain forest project, said the indoor rain forest could turn out to be the largest environmentally friendly building in North America. The building will use solar, wind, fuel cells and geothermal energy sources, he said.

"We're going to give people in the country a whole new view of Iowa and show them we are not flyover country," Oman said.

Iowa Environmental/ Education Project Community Advisory Council

Sheila Boyd, General Growth.

Randy Rayner, Laborers Local No. 1238.

Scott Carpenter, University of Iowa Department of Geoscience.

Dick Rex, former mayor of West Branch.

Lois Crowley, Iowa City Community School District.

Chris Rohret, Iowa City Community School District.

Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville.

Sheila Samuelson, 2004 University of Iowa biology graduate.

Coralville Mayor Jim Fausett.

Chris Scarpellino, Loparex Inc.

Rick Hanna, Carpenters Local Union 1260.

Josh Schamberger, Iowa City/ Coralville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Coralville City Administrator Kelly Hayworth.

Dr. Jill Scholz, Family Foot Care.

John Hudson, Iowa Arts Council.

Linda Schreiber, Iowa City Area Development.

Sandra Hudson, Iowa Incubator.

Sharon Thomas, Iowa City Community School District.

Beth Jorgensen, Iowa City Community School District.

Neil Trott, Canterbury Inn.

Johnson County Supervisor Terrence Neuzil.

Deanna Trumbell, Trumbell Consulting.

Mark Phillips, RSM McGladrey.

Ed Williams, Biowa.

Wayne Peterson, United States Department of Agriculture.

Joe Raso, Iowa City Area Development.