Phase one started on Fresno aquarium

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Ground has been broken for a new aquarium on the San Joaquin River in Fresno. (KFSN)

Ground has been broken for a new aquarium on the San Joaquin River in Fresno. It is 10 years in the making and Wednesday marks the beginning of phase one.

Below Highway 99, just north of Herndon Avenue, the San Joaquin River meets Tom Lang's field of dreams.

"This is an opportunity to really reconnect with what made the San Joaquin Valley."

He is drawn to the water and he has plans to build an aquarium.

"You go onto social media and they're like, 'an aquarium in Fresno? I can't get my head around that,' but of course, we are right on the San Joaquin River."

Lang isn't concerned with the critics, he has the land, the plans, and a quarter of a million dollars to start building.

On Wednesday, a decade after the idea was born, phase one started.

"We have enough money now to start, the four walls and the roof at least," said Lang.

The first four walls will be built, block by block, to create the aquaculture building, which will really be the basement, or the heart of the aquarium, where fresh and salt water fish will be raised.

"It's kind of like a 'GoFundMe' for aquariums. People are donating these blocks, one block at a time. A hundred dollars for a regular block, $200 for a large block," said Lang.

Lang said it'll take 5,100 concrete blocks to build the basement. As for the rest of the project-- he isn't sure.

There are several phases of construction and he's relying solely on donations to make his dream of a riverfront aquarium in Fresno a reality.

The connection to this river will run deep. Lang said, half of the aquarium will be dedicated to fish that live in the river water.

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