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Dubuque Welcomes Possible Rain Forest Project

Katie Wiedemann


December 9, 2005 7:12 p.m.

[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.]

(Dubuque KCRG) -- Downtown Dubuque businesses are no strangers to development happening right in their backyards. They've watched museums; hotels and restaurants pop up in the Port of Dubuque area. Now many of those business owners are holding their breath to see what happens next.

Downtown gift shop owner Jan Feltes is packing up and moving out. But she'll unpack in the gift shop at the Old Jail Museum because it's a little closer to the Port of Dubuque, a place were tourism is booming. Feltes said, "The more people can experience those kinds of activities, the more we're going to be known on the map. Oh my gosh, a rain forest, wouldn't that be something?"

You can believe the possibility of the rain forest coming to Dubuque is the all the talk at Bedazzled Hair Salon in downtown Dubuque. Lisa Rokusek said, "If it would bring in tourists and even more of the Dubuque people to the downtown area, I think it would be a benefit to all of us in the downtown area."

Tony Cox said, "When relatives come in to town, it would be something new to take the relatives to."

But as of now, there is no rain forest deal with Dubuque. But tourism officials are trying to "sell" Dubuque as a city that has a proven track record, for fundraising and following through.

Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce President, Steward Sandstrom said, "The excitement and energy that is here in Dubuque I don't think you'll find anywhere else in the state. Not in Coralville, not in Des Moines or anywhere else."

As talk continues between rain forest organizers and Dubuque tourism leaders plans are in the works to develop this vacant land in the port, rain forest or not.