The developers of the controversial environmental project known as Earthpark announced partnerships today with two companies. David Oman, the executive director of the Iowa Environmental Project, says Atlanta-based Maxon Holdings will give the project 10-million dollars in financial and technical support. Maxon builds energy systems for large projects such as this.
Oman says they’ll have responsibility for pulling together various energy sources, from wind turbines, to solar energy to power the project. Oman says the on-line auction site eBay is also partnering with Earthpark . Oman says ebay likes the project’s educational mission and are working to make their company greener. He says eBay will work with Earthpark through their "Giving Works" program that will allow people to donate to the project on-line.
Earthpark will include four acres of tropical rainforest, a 600,000-gallon aquarium and more than 1,000 species of plants and small animals in a re-created ecosystem. The project is slated to be built at Lake Red Rock near Pella if developers can come up with enough money to match a 50-million dollar appropriation from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The deadline is December, and Oman says this latest donation helps them in that goal. Oman says they are looking to get about half the match, 25-million dollars, from the Pella community, and the rest of other sources. Oman says they’re still talking with many other companies about getting involved.
He says those companies "are keenly interested in working with us," as he says they’re interested in the project’s ecoliteracy, and it’s green goals. The federal money given to Earthpark has been ridiculed by some as "pork barrel spending," including Governor Chet Culver and Republican presidential candidate John McCain.