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home : news : news Friday, June 24, 2016

9/28/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Eco tourism center grand opening slated Sunday
Clinton County Conservation's $2.2 million Mississippi River Eco Center at Rock Creek Park will have its grand opening Sunday, Sept. 29, 1-5 p.m. A program is planned about 2 p.m. to thank the center's many contributors and supporters.

The public is invited to see the educational displays including the 8,000 gallon aquarium showcasing live native fish and a display of Iowa record fish in the camp store and café, the theater/meeting room and the community hall.

A wetlands display, complete with live turtles and snakes of Iowa, will be featured in the nature gallery.

The concept of an eco center began in 2003 when the camp store needed replacing. The original project was envisioned to cost about $100,000, but with additional input, the facility was expanded and enlarged to an 8,600 square foot building on the banks of Rock Creek.

The Clinton County Conservation Foundation acquired funding for the project, including a $100,000 commitment from the Clinton County Board of Supervisors; a $300,000 gift from James Durgin of Clinton; and contributions of $105,000 and $100,000 from Alliance Pipeline and 3M, respectively; and many smaller business and personal donations.

The project also is the recipient of a $760,000 Scenic Byways grant due to its location just off the Great River Road.

"Everything is paid for," conservation director Walt Wickham said recently. However, in the future additional funds will be needed for such things as displays, paved parking and smaller projects.

The building was completed in April 2012, and the finishing touches have been added since then.

Wickham said although the center is located in an area that floods almost every year, "we are high and dry above the 500-year flood level." Thus the center also features a covered picnic area beneath the spacious deck that overlooks the creek.

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