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Riverside, Tiffin Want Iowa's Rain Forest

Perry Beeman

Des Moines Register

December 9, 2005

[Note: This material is copyright by the Des Moines Register, 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 Des Moines Register.]

Two more Iowa towns, Riverside and Tiffin, have announced they are trying to land a $180 million indoor rain forest and aquarium complex once eyed for Coralville.

Backers of the project announced this week they will welcome other proposals after failing to come to terms with the city of Coralville.

Dubuque and Des Moines officials also are studying the project, which has been in the works for about a decade and still doesn't have a home. The Iowa Environmental Project would include a three- to four-acre enclosed rainforest, a million-gallon aquarium, an education center and prairie plantings.

The Riverside site would be across the street from a casino now under construction, a development that includes a new hotel, said casino representative Glenn Patton.
Regency Homes and High Development Corp. are pitching a 202-acre site just west of the Tiffin exit off Interstate Highway 80, near the interchange with Interstate Highway 380.

Company vice president Jim Angstman said the heavily wooded spot offers easy interstate access but also would give the secluded feeling rain forest backers want.