Business leaders want convention center along river

CLEVELAND (AP) - A new convention center should be built downtown along the Cuyahoga River, city business leaders recommended Friday.

The Greater Cleveland Growth Association and Cleveland Tomorrow told the city planning commission that the site behind Tower City Center mall is ideal to attract visitors and boost the city's lagging economy.

As a second choice, business leaders recommended demolishing the existing convention center across from Cleveland Browns Stadium and building a new one.

A new convention center is "critical" to Cleveland, said Dennis Eckart, president of the Cleveland Growth Association.

"This is more than an address, this is a vision," he said.

The total cost of the center should not exceed $400 million, the leaders said.

The planning commission will meet again next week to hear public comment on the proposal.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)