The naming rights for a creek in southeast Iowa will be back up for auction on eBay later this week. Dan Ehl proposed the idea of selling the naming rights of the West Drainage Ditch in Kalona as a way to raise money for a sidewalk improvement project in the town.

“People who live around here just call it ‘the creek,'” Ehl said. “So, when we were thinking of naming it, I thought we should put it on eBay and get some money for a town project.” The naming rights were placed on eBay earlier this month and the winning bid came from a man who claimed to be from Virginia.

“He said he was bidding for a friend of his in Japan whose great grandfather had visited (Kalona) once and always spoke about how peaceful it was,” Ehl said. The winning bidder wanted to name the Kalona waterway Baniku Kinshi Creek. Ehl, who works as editor of The Kalona News, said city leaders quickly learned “Baniku Kinshi” is Japanese for “horse meat prohibited.”

Ehl said the man who tried to purchase the naming rights was an activist with PETA or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “The name had a ring to it, but most people here probably wouldn’t like ‘Horse Meat (Prohibited)’ for a name to a creek,” Ehl said.

Kalona city leaders rejected the name, so now the naming rights for the creek will be placed on eBay again this Thursday. The winning bid last time was $681, after more than 10 people placed bids. The final name will be subject to approval by the city council and the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.

By Mark Carlson, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids