Thursday, August 25, 2005

And So the Fun Begins

Don't lose faith in rain forest
I was disappointed to read that two Coralville Council members have said they were losing faith in the Iowa Environmental project, think it is not going to be possible to build and we should move on to other things ("Rain forest losing its magic," Aug. 23). It has caused so much discussion, so much dissension and taken so much time to try to make it work. Surely, we can try a little longer and harder to bring it to life in our town?
So, the fact that most people don't like it and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere is a reason to keep going? Huh. Are you also the type of person who gets "just one more" roll of quarters for a losing slot machine because it's "due"?

It has been said that we don't "need" a rain forest in our area. Perhaps that is true. But do we really "need" a new pizza place, or a July 4th parade, or the wonderful Coralville Christmas light displays? These things are desirable and add enjoyment to our lives, but do we really "need" them?
Last I looked, none of these things cost $180 million-plus to build. None of them caused the rest of the country to make fun of us. And the July 4th parade doesn't require 1.8 million visitors a year to be sustainable.

Last September, my husband and I made a trip to England. We had an almost four-hour train trip from London down to the Cornwall area where the Eden Project is located. We spent a large part of one day enjoying Eden. If a similar project could be half as successful here as it is there, it is worth the waiting and the hard work needed to accomplish it.

The Coralville area near Interstate 80 is so much more well traveled and accessible to all. The Eden Project is near two tiny towns in a remote area of Cornwall. Still, the people come by the thousands to tour it. The day we were there (a weekday), they had 4,000 people by noon.

The tourism, the business for the small towns in food, hotels, taxi services etc., has been a boon to their economy. There are museums and lovely gardens to tour in the area (all possibilities here).
Really?! I never realized Cornwall was so much like Iowa. Nothing there but some little towns. Nothing else to draw visitors like, say, an ocean or castles or such. Of course, there's always the remote chance Coralville's tourism could be rejuvenated by the surfing industry, too. Or we could just use our agricultural know-how to make our own Eden a success.

We came home with a renewed enthusiasm for this project. It is interesting for both adults and children. At Eden, they have been holding classes for children in a tent-like structure, but are now building a permanent building for classrooms.

It might be that it will never come to fruition here, but we sincerely hope the effort will be made to try a little longer.

Also, how about giving it a pretty name, rather than the Iowa Environmental Project? I'm thinking Coral Gardens or Iowa Garden Project or (stealing from the British) the Garden of Eden. Anything sounds better than the IEP.
Yep, that's what's wrong with it. The name.