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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Chuck Crow/The Plain DealerDevelopers plan to build the Rock Harbor Aquarium on the 100 acre lakefront development site where the Port of Cleveland now operates. Add another player to the already crowded field of developers dreaming of bringing a world-class aquarium to Cleveland.

The latest entry, Great Lakes Aquarium of Cleveland Inc., wants to build a $100 million aquarium as part of a lakefront development project planned for land now occupied by the Port of Cleveland north of Browns Stadium.

If it feels as if you’ve heard this story before, you probably have. Two other developers have pitched aquarium proposals over the last year, and no fewer than six have been floated through the North Coast over the past 20 years.

“That should be an indication that there’s a lot of interest around here to build an aquarium in Cleveland,” said Berea businessman Russ Hill, president of the nonprofit Great Lakes Aquarium group.

In September, developer Jeff Jacobs received a $2 million loan from the City of Cleveland to build a $9 million Nautica Aquarium inside his Powerhouse building on the west bank of the Flats. Construction is expected to start in the spring and be completed by the end of the year.

Not to be outdone, a competing nonprofit group, Cleveland Aquarium Inc., has pitched a $50 million aquarium — one twice as big as Jacob’s tank — for the east bank of the Flats.

Earlier proposals included the Great Waters Aquarium touted for years by former Mayor Michael R. White, an aquarium envisioned for the U.S. Coast Guard land east of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, and another for the Harborside Village planned on the lakefront east of the Cuyahoga River.

In a telephone interview on Friday, Hill said his plans are for an aquarium more in league with those in Baltimore, Boston and Newport, Ky.

He dismissed the Jacobs aquarium as more of a “novelty restaurant type of project” that would be considerably smaller than the 120,000-square-foot facility he envisions building. But he thinks the two facilities could succeed and complement each other.

“I absolutely think there is room for two here,” said Hill, president of Ultimate Lead Systems, a Berea-based Internet company that provides leads for salespeople. “There could be a nice synergy between us that could put Cleveland back on the map.”

To pay for the aquarium, Hill has proposed combining renewable energy credits with money from corporate investors, plus convincing Cuyahoga County voters to agree to a $12-a-year tax, per home, for 10 years.

In return, every homeowner would receive four free tickets to the aquarium or six tax-deductible donations for city school children.

He expects the project to generate $100 million a year in tourism for the region.

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