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Decision on Rain Forest Location Delayed

Walt Winston

KGRN, Grinnell

May 15, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by RADIOIOWA, 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 RADIOIOWA.]

A decision was supposed to come today (Monday [May 15, 2006]) on which Iowa city would host that multi-million-dollar rain forest project. Organizers now say the decision likely won't come until early June. David Oman, executive director of the Environmental Project, says the board is looking at new data from the four hopeful cities.

Oman says more information has come in from each of the four just last Wednesday and it's still being reviewed. Another problem is that many of the board members are traveling all over the country and world and can't all seem to get in one place at one time to vote. Oman says while many people are calling it a rain forest, there are a wealth of other elements to the project. He says it includes a big water element, like an aquarium, wetlands, prairie exhibits, galleries, a botanical facility, a science center, a learning center, an IMAX theater and more.

Oman was asked what the final city will receive with the project. He says it'll be a 21st century learning center and a destination attraction that'll bring people in, along with the economic benefit of perhaps a million visitors. Four finalists are in the running for the project: Grinnell, Pella, Tiffin and Riverside.