FRANKLIN COUNTY (WSIL) — The $17.5 million renovation of Rend Lake Resort in Franklin County will begin in 2023.
The funding will be used to renovate the conference center, restaurant, cabins, pool and boat, which collectively will enable the resort to accommodate accommodation guests, conferences and other visitors and events.
The resort became empty after the state terminated a lease in 2016 after mold was discovered in the hotel and other buildings.
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At the peak of its operation, the complex attracted 2.4 million visitors a year and employed up to 125 staff. It had an estimated economic impact of nearly $245 million in 2010.
Rend Lake Resort is located within the 3,300 acre Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area and is operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on the shore of Rend Lake in Franklin and Jefferson counties . The resort site includes a hotel, conference center, chalets, restaurant, boat, gift shop, swimming pool, tennis courts and more.
“Rend Lake Resort was and will continue to be an important part of our regional economic engine for Southern Illinois,” said Mayor Jason Ashmore, City of Sesser. “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 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.