NORTH COAST HARBOR, INC., is a private, nonprofit agency created as the North Coast Development Corp. to plan and manage development of NORTH COAST HARBOR, primarily the area along the lakefront from the Cuyahoga River to the E. 9th St. area. The organization was founded in 1985 by Cleveland City Council, the mayor, governor, and area civic leaders to draw up a plan for developing the lakefront. William E. MacDonald, CEO of Ohio Bell Telephone Co., was the group's first chairman. Partial financing came from CLEVELAND TOMORROW, while the state had already appropriated money for excavation of the harbor. Gary N. Conley, former economic development director of Cleveland, served as president of the organization from 1987 to 1991, replacing Project Director Gregory Balbierz. In 1988 North Coast Harbor was dedicated, and a year later North Coast Development Corp.'s name was changed to North Coast Harbor, Inc. At this time the organization was also given the role of overseeing the operations at North Coast Harbor.
In 1991 Robert F. Bann II succeeded Conley as executive director of the organization; he served until his death in Jan. 1994. In 1992 North Coast approved a master plan done by Sasaki Associates, Inc., of Watertown, MA. Planned components of the harbor included the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM, the Great Waters Aquarium, and the Great Lakes Science, Environment, and Technology Museum. The organization's acting executive director in 1994 was David Gilbert.