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Be Realistic on Rain Forest Plans

Julie Spencer

Iowa City Press-Citizen

August 30, 2005

[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.]

Once again city officials in Coralville are stymied in their ongoing efforts to bring a rain forest to Iowa ("City sets deadline for rain forest," Aug. 25). Some Coralville city council members are ready to throw in the towel and do away with the project altogether. Perhaps all of these obstacles they are encountering are trying to tell them something, mainly, that the rain forest project was a debacle from the start.

The exorbitant amount of money needed to fund the project is not forthcoming, and the powers to be cannot agree on what an undertaking of this massive scale exactly will entail. Perhaps they should scale back their efforts and do a little creative thinking.

The Des Moines Botanical Center and the Quad Cities Botanical Center are two excellent examples of projects that would be feasible at the proposed site. These beautiful structures house myriad plant life from around the world.

The Des Moines Botanical Center features an astonishing display of gardens incorporating numerous species of flowers and plants of every color and array.

The glass-domed building features numerous pathways and footbridges, water pools containing goldfish, sculpture gardens and a beautiful walkway that fronts the Des Moines River.

In addition to these aspects of the Botanical Center, the building also has an attractive gift shop and cafe and educational opportunities for area students.

Perhaps the most enticing aspect of a botanical center in this area is not only the sheer beauty of such a structure and the plant life it contains within but it also can be built at a fraction of the cost of the proposed rain forest project.

Julie Spencer
Iowa City