Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Assistant Professor Rick Funderburg was recently quoted in an article appearing in the Cedar Rapids Gazette about Coralville's "Stories" plan for the Iowa River Landing. Coralville leaders have been searching for an idea to increase tourism to the site which hosts the Mariott Hotel and Convention Center that opened in 2006. "Boy, they've really, really got to do this well," Funderburg commented about the importance of effective marketing to make the project pencil out. "This is going to have to be widely known as unique to make it a destination."

The proposal is to create a "Stories" themed area that would focus on the region's reputation for producing great writers through the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop. The attraction would include high-tech presentations such as holograms of famous literary characters. On May 3, Funderburg will join a group of local and university leaders who will visit an attraction at the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois to see a demonstration of the technologies that would be exploited in the "Stories” project. While it’s a planner’s job to carefully scrutinize development projects, Funderburg has been optimistic about the promise of this particular project and he has offered to provide an assessment of the consultant’s assumptions and projections of demand. The consultant, ConsultEcon, anticipates a mid-May delivery of the report.

The full article can be viewed online.