Leaders in two communities near Coralville are now stepping forward to try to lure construction of an indoor rain forest to their town. Developers of the project and Coralville city leaders cut off negotiations last week that would have put the rain forest along Interstate-80 in Coralville. Developer Jim Angstman hopes a 200-acre site just a few miles away — in Tiffin — might be selected. “Obviously we would love to have that project there,” he says “We consider it a Class A project.” But Glenn Patton is hoping to lure the rain forest to a site in Riverside just across the road from the casino that’s under construction.
“It would put Riverside, Iowa, on the map and it would be a huge economic stimulation to the entire Washington County Community,” Patton says. The executive director of the Iowa Environmental Project — the group pushing the rain forest concept — says up to nine Iowa communities are now in the running, including larger cities like Des Moines and Dubuque. Site selection may be made by the end of the year. The indoor rain forest and education center has been in the planning phase for years and project developers have yet to line up all 180-million dollars in financing needed for the facility.