Grinnell is among four finalists for the massive Iowa Environmental Project, which is to include a rain forest, aquarium, theater and educational center. Grinnell Mayor Gordon Canfield was thrilled his community made the final cut during the announcement from developers on Wednesday.
Canfield says the project would bring tourists to Grinnell, helping the downtown and the economy, boosting the city’s cultural and educational assets, adding, “it will make Grinnell a place on the map as far as science.” He says a prime site has been set aside for the sprawling domed rainforest just north of Interstate 80.
Canfield says the location is visible from both directions on I-80, the size of 40 acres is plenty big enough, and he says the community should be able to raise the money needed for the project. Local backers would need to raise 25-million dollars toward the 180-million dollar project. The other finalists are: Riverside, Pella and Tiffin. The final location is expected to be decided in mid-May.