State moving ahead with plans to renovate Rend Lake Resort and Conference Center

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A view of Rend Lake Resort at Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area in 2013. The resort closed in 2016 and has languished without an operator. The state is moving closer to selecting a contractor to oversee upgrades to the resort.

Barricades are seen in December 2016 behind the entrance sign for Rend Lake Resort. The state closed the resort that month and was seeking bids from vendors who could reopen the tourist destination. The state is moving closer to selecting a contractor to oversee upgrades to the resort and conference center.

WHITTINGTON — The state is moving closer to selecting a contractor to oversee upgrades to the Rend Lake Resort and Conference Center and related amenities at the Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area that have fallen into disrepair and sat empty for years.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources committed to undertake restoration of the resort about a year ago after multiple attempts over several years to find a private operator fell through, in large part because the facilities are in such poor condition.

Last year, the state tried to entice a qualified concessionaire by offering up to $1.5 million in financial incentives to help with renovation costs. It also offered bidders several options, including taking over and renovating all facilities, or only some of them. The property consists of a hotel and conference/event center, cabins, boatels, pool, restaurant, gift shop and boat dock with fuel dispensing station.

“We had plenty of questions from potential vendors, but we didn’t receive any bids,” said Rachel Torbert, spokeswoman for IDNR. “That, coupled with the state’s desire to keep this project moving forward, is what led us to go on and take a look at moving this into a state-led renovation project working with the Capital Development Board.”

In July, the Illinois Capital Development Board, which oversees major state construction projects, advertised a request for architect/engineering consultants interested in redeveloping the property to its former glory.

via The Southern

October 28, 2020 at 08:46PM

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