FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Riverfront development in Fort Wayne took another big step forward Thursday. The Board of Park Commissioners approved more than $16 million of work for phase one. The checklist before construction can start is getting shorter.

The plan is to have shovels hit the dirt on phase one of riverfront development in July.  The Board of Park Commissioners approved 14 bid packages at its Thursday meeting meaning the work has been assigned a contractor and prices have been approved. City Council will also have to approve it.

The Board also got its first look at the playground that will be part of phase one. It includes handicap accessible equipment as well as musical instruments. Phase one wasn’t the only thing on the agenda. Parks Director Al Moll also introduced the board to conceptual ideas for phase two which will run from the Wells Street Bridge to the Ewing Street Bridge.

“I think a lot of people want to know what you’re going to do next,” Moll said. “They want to know what’s going on. We kind of went over what are some conceptual thoughts of phase two and three. That’s conceptual but it frames the riverfront for economic development.”

Phase one is focused on public space. Phase two may have an emphasis on private investments.

“It would be putting a frame on the riverfront which would be a promenade walkway area and extend the canopy trail [from phase one],” Moll said. “But those sites that boarder up there are prime for private development and there’s been a lot of interest.”

No design or engineering have taken place for phase two yet, and that will take at least a year according to Moll. Phase three is even more conceptual. In a rendering of possible ideas for phase three a zipline was included.

At the meeting, Moll also updated the Board about Indiana Tech withdrawing its plans to build an athletic complex in Memorial Park. He said the result is unfortunate, but he’s working to put a task force together to create a long term improvement plan for the park.