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Businesses in Coralville Optimistic With Possibility of No Rain Forest

Mark Geary


December 9, 2005

[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.]

(Coralville – KCRG) -- For the past five years the city of Coralville has prepared itself for the rain forest project. The city cleared land for the $180-million project and poured in plenty of money. But at least one local business is remaining optimistic.

The Edge opened up in late August. One of the reasons owners chose this spot is because it was so close to the rain forest project. But even though it looks like the rain forest won't ever grow here in Coralville, the edge is still enthusiastic.

Kari Heims is the general manager of The Edge. She told TV9, “I think that if the rain forest doesn't come, they'll try to bring in something else that will bring people to the area."

Heims says business is going well at the edge, and she's not all that worried about the future of the upscale sports bar and grill. “I think with the hotels that are still going up down there and the hotels around here, the area will do just fine."

There's still a chance that the multi-million dollar project could stay in Coralville. But now that rain forest leaders are shopping around the idea to other communities, it seems unlikely that the project will call Coralville home.

John Lundell is on the Coralville city council. “We have chose than it would be in the best interest of Coralville to start to look at alternative uses for that property."

In the meantime, The Edge and the other businesses in the area say they can survive without the project. Heim said, “Iowa City is an area that likes to support the locally owned and operated businesses. So, that's one thing that's going for us."

Councilman John Lundell says the city council will talk about new options for the area at its next meeting. The rain forest project is said to be looking at a number of other cities in Iowa, including Dubuque and Des Moines.