Governor Pritzker announces $17.5 million in funding to renovate Rend Lake Resort

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ill. (KFVS) – Governor JB Pritzker announced millions of dollars in funding to renovate the Rend Lake Resort in southern Illinois.

He said the renovation will begin in 2023 with an investment of over $17.5 million.

The funding will be used to renovate the conference center, restaurant, cabins, pool and boat, which will enable the resort to accommodate accommodation guests, conferences and other visitors and events.

“Rend Lake has been around for 50 years – and during that half-century it has been a shining example of the rich history, human ingenuity and sustainability values ​​that make Illinois special,” Governor JB Pritzker said. . “Today, I am proud to announce that we will be investing over $17 million to renovate Rend Lake Resort, restoring the site to its former glory. With this funding, we are strengthening our tourism industry, our economy, our leisure offerings, and our holistic and social well-being all in one.

The Rend Lake Resort and Conference Center is located on the shores of Rend Lake in the 3,300-acre Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area. It is operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The resort has a hotel, conference center, cabins, restaurant, boat, gift shop, swimming pool, tennis courts and more.

The Rend Lake Resort and Conference Center in Whittington, Illinois is empty. It was closed in December 2016 due to mold, peeling paint, and other health issues, as well as payment issues with the vendor.(Source: KFVS)

It opened in May 1991 and closed in December 2016 due to mold, peeling paint, and other health issues, as well as payment issues with the vendor.

According to a statement from the governor’s office, at the peak of its operation, the station attracted 2.4 million visitors a year and employed up to 125 staff members. It had an estimated economic impact of nearly $245 million in 2010, and occupancy rates were around 90% during the high season period between late spring and late fall.

Rend Lake was officially recognized in 2007 as one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois.

There has been a push to reopen the now closed resort of Whittington for several years.

“Rend Lake Resort was and will continue to be an important part of our regional economic engine for Southern Illinois,” said Sesser Mayor Jason Ashmore. “The resort will provide more opportunities for visitors to Rend Lake, which will stimulate economic growth for all surrounding communities. We want to thank Governor JB Pritzker, DNR, CDB, Senator Bryant, Senator Fowler and Rep. Severin for all of their hard work in making this happen.

“I want to thank Governor Pritzker for helping us make this long-awaited project a reality,” said Colleen Callahan, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “This is more than an investment in Rend Lake Resort. It’s also an investment in our state parks, local jobs, the regional economy, and the people of southern Illinois.

Rend Lake is the second largest of Illinois’ three man-made lakes with 19,000 acres of water and 162 miles of shoreline. The lake itself is operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers and is a tremendous economic engine for southern Illinois.

Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area attracts over 1.3 million visitors annually.

Dedicated in 1975, the park is popular for hunting, camping, wildlife viewing, picnicking, boating access, horseback riding, country trails and other outdoor activities. outdoors.

It is named after the late Wayne Fitzgerrell, a former Sesser State Representative who was a strong advocate for building Rend Lake.

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