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Riverside Won't Commit to Rain Forest Money

Steve Nicoles

KCRG-TV9 News

January 19, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by KCRG-TV9, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval http://www.kwwl.comof KCRG-TV9.]



(Cedar Rapids KCRG) -- There are new doubts over the big rain forest project.

Riverside is interested in the rain forest but city leaders say they will not promise any money without more information.

Riverside mayor Bill Poch is frustrated because he says rain forest leaders remain tight-lipped over their plans but at the same time they ask for specifics from communities around the state interested in the project.

Poch said, "The mistake I feel they have been making is they haven't opened up and given people a chance to ask questions and get answers."

Poch says his city will not promise any money without knowing more about the project.

He wants to know how a rain forest will attract one third of the state's population to Riverside every year and what happens if it does not live up to billing as a world class facility?

Poch said, "I myself am a little hesitant with this project as is the state of Iowa."

The answers are not likely to come before the January 31st deadline for communities to submit plans to rain forest brass.

Project leaders want communities to list a specific location for the 20-something acre project as well as a promise to be a co-applicant for a vision-Iowa grant.

Applying for vision-Iowa means shelling out some city cash.

There is really no way of telling what else rain forest leaders want from cities.

KCRG-TV 9 News asked the rain forest group for a copy of the application.

The request was denied.

The reason offered, "Just because."

It is that kind of generic response that has Riverside frustrated.