One of the most anticipated city projects – in the works for nearly four years – is gearing up.

While road and utility construction for the Buffalo Street project began last year, work on the second phase involving the park plaza along Center Lake – and coinciding with a housing and mixed-use private development are expected to get under way this year.

On Friday, officials took possession of a $1.6 million check from the Regional Cities Program the city applied for and received approval for nearly three years ago.

City officials celebrated with a ceremonial photo Friday during the board of works and safety meeting.

The money from the Regional Development Authority is in conjunction with the Regional Cities Project, which awarded $42 million to communities in  the northeast region for local projects.

The money is geared toward quality of life projects ranging from economic development and job creation to improved recreational and arts opportunities.

Mayor Joe Thallemer picked up the $1.6 million check while attending a Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership meeting in Fort Wayner earlier in the week.

Design of the plaza is underway. Bids for the work will be received this spring and construction is tentatively planned for this summer.

Matthews LLC, of South Bend, will develop the housing and mixed-use project.

The board on Friday also addressed a slew of other updates. Board members:

• Approved an agreement for a four-lot development on the west end of the Warsaw Tech Park along U.S. 30.

The developer, Greenmark, of Michigan, intends to develop four lots along U.S. 30 and near CR 200W. The first lot will feature a 41,000-square-foot John Deere farm equipment dealership.

Greenmark will extend Polk Drive further to the west as part of the project. In exchange, the city will extend water and  sanitary sewer, and construct a lift station.

The  plan commission is expected to review a final plat approval of the project on Feb. 11.

The John Deere project at the northwest corner of U.S. 30 and CR 200W is expected to cost about $4.5 million, according to Steve Snyder, representing Greenmark.

• Approved several requests  involving the expansion of the sewer treatment plant.

Start date of the construction contract with Wessler Engineering, of Fort Wayne, is Feb. 22. The project  is expected to span 22 months.

The $31 million project will increase capacity at the plant and switch to a more energy-efficient anaerobic treatment process.

• Approved three contracts for shoreline stabilization along Pike Lake by Heartland Restoration Services, of Fort Wayne. Combined cost of the contracts are about $105,975.

Phase one focused on the east end of the lake near the campground and is already complete. Phase two is south of the campground. Two other phases are on the south part of the lake south of the campground.

• Approved numerous contracts involving summer park events.