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Coralville Still in Rain-Forest Running

Jennifer Lickteig

Daily Iowan

February 2, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by The Daily Iowan, 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 Daily Iowan.]

Coralville sent site information to the Iowa Environmental Project just in time for its Jan. 31 deadline, along with six other communities who have shown interest in the $180 million indoor rain-forest project.

"We don't feel our position has changed any from what they talked about in the past," said Ellen Habel, an assistant city administrator. "We think we have the best site with great accessibility and great visibility."

When evaluating the seven communities that submitted proposals, David Oman, the head of the project, said officials will take into account site design, topography and character of a location, educational infrastructure nearby, and highway infrastructure.

Three members of the project's Board of Directors will meet today at 2 p.m. to decide how the process of evaluating these sites will commence. Oman said these three members -- Richard Johnson, Betsy Roe, and Leonard Hadley -- were appointed to make the decision by Chairman Robert Ray, because they are leading Iowa citizens, well-respected, and well-travelled.