Walt Wickham is shown with a model of the Mississippi River Eco Tourism Center, for which fund raising is under way.

The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

GRAND MOUND — A scale model of the proposed Mississippi River Eco Tourism Center, which is scheduled to be built in Rock Creek Park, has been built to show state officials how the center will look.

The model was built by Jim Haring, chairman of the Clinton County Conservation Foundation, which has raised more than $1million toward the estimated $2 million cost of the center. The model was the centerpiece of a presentation made by Walt Wickham and Haring before the Vision Iowa CAT board in Des Moines last week.

The men were pleased by an invitation to return in June to further discuss their application for a $844,236 grant.

Haring said he spent about a month and a half building the model, which is on a scale of 1/8th of an inch to a foot of the proposed center, which will house a 5,000-gallon aquarium with local fish, exhibits of wildlife of the river ecosystem, a banquet facility, camp store and café.

Haring’s model includes the unique roof on different levels and the windows on the front, facing the river.

“I just kinda built it on a whim,” Haring said. “I thought it’s something people can relate to when we go places to talk about it. It’s not if we’re going to build it — it’s when we’re going to build it. We’re getting closer every day.”

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