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Grinnell Off List of Contenders for Rain Forest

Nigel Duara

Des Moines Register

July 6, 2006

[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.]

The number of cities vying for the proposed Earthpark project fell by one on Wednesday.

The city of Grinnell withdrew from the list after it failed to raise the required $25 million match needed to contend for the proposed four-acre indoor rain forest.

Poweshiek Iowa Development executive director Bill Menner said the city wanted to make the selection process easier for the committee charged with selecting a site for the Earthpark.

"We did not think we could reach the ($25 million) threshold in a timely manner," Menner said. "We just decided that rather than belabor things, we'd allow them to make a quick decision."

Menner said Grinnell had raised about $15 million, and that within six months, the city could have put together "more than enough" to meet the $25 million required by Earthpark's board of directors.

The three cities left on the list of proposed sites are Pella, Tiffin and Riverside. Pella and Riverside have already secured the necessary $25 million, but as of the beginning of June, Tiffin had not.

Menner said the proximity of the other sites to Grinnell means that the city will benefit from the Earthpark.