GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids city commissioners on Tuesday reaffirmed their support of a planned $116 million amphitheater on the south side of downtown.

Commissioners passed a resolution approving the mission statement of the group that will own the amphitheater, the Kent County-Grand Rapids Convention/Arena Authority. It’s a sort of guide to the vision for the riverfront south of downtown that has been developing for more than a decade.

“It really is a way to make sure that the vision and mission of the Convention and Arena Authority captures the future development and where we want to go in the future,” Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalyn Bliss said.

Talk of riverfront development along Market Street SW near the S-curve first began in 2007. The idea went dormant for several years after developer Duane Faust failed to deliver on a proposal many saw as too good to be true. It was. The idea was resurrected in 2017 with more safeguards in place to keep unattainable ideas out of the mix for the 18-acre riverfront site, now home to public works and other city services.

The 12,000-seat, $116 million amphitheater would go up about where piles of salt are now stored at the public works yard.

“So it will be right up adjacent to the highway, in that first section of 201 Market,” Bliss said.

One of the biggest impediments to the project has been a large sewer line that cuts through the property. The movement of that sewer line should complete by years’ end. With it moved out of the way, the amphitheater proposal can move forward.

The deal to sell more than 11 acres of the city’s 18 acres to the Kent County-Grand Rapid Convention/Arena Authority is on track to happen next year. Once that happens, public works and other city services are expected to move off the site. A deal to move the public works yard to the soon-to-be-vacated county road commission site on Scribner Avenue near Turner Avenue NW is in the works.

“Once it’s owned by the CAA, then we’ll finalize the design. And then after the design is finalized, that’s when bids will go out for development and contractors,” said Bliss, who is also a member of the Convention/Arena Authority. “As the city starts to move off that site, we can really be intentional about the portion of the site we’re moving off from. But I think we’ll see active development happening end of 2023, 2024.”

The remaining 7 acres are also slated for development.

“We’ll actually be working with partners to get mixed use, housing development on that site,” Bliss said.

The amphitheater is one piece of a series of redevelopment efforts that also includes restoring the rapids on the Grand River and a proposed soccer stadium for an area near US-131 and Pearl Street NW. Grand Action is leading the soccer stadium proposal.

“My understanding is that there’s still a lot of due diligence being done about site location, size, franchise, all of the behind-the-scenes work,” Bliss said.

For Bliss, who was a 2nd Ward city commissioner in 2007 when the idea first came up, the latest efforts to redevelop 201 Market provide some light at the end of a long tunnel.

“It’s time for us to move off that site,” Bliss said, “free it for private development and start to grow our city that way.”