A state board is entering into negotiations that may lead to a state grant to Coralville for a new hotel and convention center. “Vision Iowa” board chairman Michael Gartner leads the panel that hands out the grants.Coralville’s requesting a $4.5-million dollar grant from the state’s “Community Attractions” grant fund. The total project cost is $61-million. Critics say it’s a backdoor way to get state financing for amenities for the controversial “Iowa Child Project” — the proposed indoor rainforest and education center. Gartner doesn’t share that concern. He says he’s satisfied that this is an independent legitimate project. The “Vision Iowa” board is expected to begin negotiating with Clinton area leaders for a deal that would yield a state grant for a riverfront project.Clinton wants to build a convention and visitors bureau along the Mississippi and is asking for a 12 million dollar state grant to help finance it.
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