IL Gov. Pritzker announces $17.5M for renovations to Rend Lake Resort

BENTON, Ill. (KBSI) – Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced $17.5 million for renovations to the Rend Lake Resort on Wednesday.

The resort has been closed since 2016. The funding will be used to renovate the conference center, restaurant, cabins, pool, and boatel, which collectively will enable the resort to host lodging guests, conferences, and other visitors and events.

It is located at the 3,300-acre Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area. The Illinois Department of Nature Resources operates it on the shore of Rend Lake in Franklin and Jefferson counties. The resort features a hotel, conference center, cabins, restaurant, boatel, gift shop, pool, tennis courts and more.

“Rend Lake has been around for 50 years—and for that half-a-century, it has been a shining example of the rich history, the human ingenuity, and the values of sustainability that make Illinois special,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Today, I am proud to announce that we will be investing more than $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 recreational offerings, and our holistic and social wellbeing all in one.”

Rend Lake Resort opened in May 1991, but was shuttered in 2016 after mold was discovered in the hotel and other buildings. At the height of its operation, the Rend Lake Resort attracted 2.4 million visitors and employed up to 125 staff members.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Colleen Callahan, Illinois State Representative Dave Severin (R) and Sesser Mayor Jason Ashmore also spoke.

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 is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Accessible from interstates 57 and 64, it is a popular site for boating, fishing, hunting, camping, picnicking, hiking, swimming, golfing and more. The lake also provides drinking water for customers in seven southern Illinois counties.


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