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$17.5 million renovation of Rend Lake Resort to begin in 2023

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FRANKLIN COUNTY (WSIL) -- The $17.5 million renovation of the Rend Lake Resort in Franklin County will get underway in 2023.

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.

The Resort has set empty after the the state terminated a lease agreement back in 2016 after mold was discovered in the hotel and other buildings. 

RELATED: Closer Look: Rend Lake Resort, will it ever reopen?

At the height of its operation, the Resort drew 2.4 million visitors annually and employed up to 125 staff members. It had an estimated economic impact of nearly $245 million in 2010.

The Rend Lake Resort is located at 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 features a hotel, conference center, cabins, restaurant, boatel, gift shop, pool, tennis courts and more.

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

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