A masterplan has been approved by Warrington Council to restore Sankey Canal and redevelop Fiddlers Ferry Marina to create a visitor attraction in North Cheshire.
The Environment Agency has also backed the extensive plans by Warrington Council, which were sponsored by the North West Development Agency.
The Sankey Valley Park & Resort plan is aimed at creating a regional visitor destination and resort and opening up training and employment opportunities for local communities.
Cllr Ian Marks, leader of Warrington Council, said: "The council and all of our partners who have contributed to these ambitious and exciting plans are very keen to progress as quickly as possible.
"This is one of the most exciting regeneration projects in the region and will see the delivery of first class leisure facilities and green spaces for residents and visitors alike.
"I think it is fair to say that people from outside the area are now thinking about Warrington in a different and more positive way. No longer overshadowed by our neighbouring cities, our town is really coming in to its own and with projects on the scope and scale of this one it is easy to see why."