Wednesday, June 14, 2006

"the way we have financing set up, it would not be a burden to county tax payers"

From the Iowa City Press-Citizen:
With two of four finalist communities having secured the necessary $25 million funding to land the mammoth project most commonly known for its indoor rain forest, some are calling for the list to be trimmed...

...The Riverside group recently disclosed their land offer and the sourcing for their $25 million, while the Pella/Lake Red Rock group has remained silent.

"While we are in the midst of competition we are going to keep that to ourselves," DML Development spokesman Eric Woolson said Tuesday. "(DML) has put together a very credible package. At this point, they are going to keep that between the site selection committee and ourselves."

Riverside Casino and Golf Resort CEO Dan Kehl will dip into his own pocket if it will land Earthpark across the street from his casino.

Kehl's family would contribute $2 million and the casino would pay $10 million over the next 10 years. The Washington County Riverboat Foundation could contribute $8 million over the next 10 years, and remaining funds could come from revenue from a hotel/motel tax.

"People were concerned that if this doesn't succeed it would end up on the backs of county tax payers, but the way we have financing set up, it would not be a burden to county tax payers," Kehl said.

The land gift would be more than 100 acres, which would include 40 acres for construction and wetlands and quarry lands, Kehl said.

He also is proposing a $4.1 million parking facility for Earthpark, and complimentary development including a 2000-seat amphitheater, an extreme sport indoor/outdoor water park, a hotel and a mixed-use development.