The time may be ticking for folks who want to construct an indoor rainforest near Coralville. Iowa Senator Charles Grassley previously secured a 50 million dollar federal grant for the project, but yesterday (Wednesday) Grassley announced he stuck a significant restriction on that grant in a bill that passed the Senate.
The new federal strings would require rainforest backers to raise 50-million dollars from other sources within two years or what hasn’t been spent will be “reclaimed” by the feds for something else. Critics of the project who’ve launched a website posted a picture of actor Tom Cruise screaming “Show Me the Money” from a scene in the movie Jerry Maquire.
But in a prepared statement, Grassley said he wants the so-called “Iowa Environmental Project” to succeed “because it’s a big opportunity for Iowans from start to finish” and “will be a tourist destination and a leading environmental education center.”
But Grassley warned it’s time for project backers to line up the funding from “private benefactors” or the thing will never become reality. And in a rebuke to project backers, Grassley warned he won’t let any more federal money be “frittered away” on the project until financial arrangements are solid.