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Towns Near Proposed Red Rock Plan Are Optimistic


February 1, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by KCCI-TV8, 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 KCCI-TV8.]

DES MOINES, Iowa -- People located near Lake Red Rock are excited about plans for a multimillion-dollar resort, and they are hoping for a big economic boost.

Pella is preparing for the winds of change, and residents are ready to point visitors to a new attraction.

Developers announced Tuesday an ambitious project at Lake Red Rock. The Point at Red Rock would include a resort hotel and convention complex, estate homes and retail development.

"We are so excited. It's going to be such a great boost to our tourism," said Karen Eischen, of the Pella Chamber of Commerce.

Developers also hope to win a bid as the site of a proposed rain forest, which they say will be the centerpiece of the Point.

"I think that will take a first-class attraction into a world-class attraction. It's that extra touch everyone is looking to visit," Eischen said.

About six miles away in the small town of Monroe, James Peterson said he sees a lot of economic promise in the project.

"It's got to be a great impact for the whole area," he said.

Peterson is used to having people stop at his Monroe Foods store on their way to Red Rock or the Knoxville races. This new project is likely to increase that traffic.

"We can hope. We can always hope they see our sign and stop in and visit us," Peterson said. "That's good for us small-business people who look for ways to bring new traffic in and try to expand our business."

Marion County already benefits from tourism dollars. Figures from 2004 show that tourism spending topped $32 million.

Developers hope to wrap up final plans and marketing for the Red Rock project this summer.