Illinois officials to begin search for vendor to run resort

WHITTINGTON, Ill. (AP) — Illinois officials have finished remediation efforts at a resort in the southern part of the state and will soon begin seeking a new vendor to run the site.

Officials will soon put out a request for proposals to run the Rend Lake Resort at Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park, according to Connie Waggoner, the director of the state Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Realty and Environmental Planning.

Waggoner told The Southern Illinoisan that improvements have been made on the site’s hotel, conference centers, cabins, restaurant and gift shop. The Windjammer Boatel was beyond repair and was demolished, she said.

The department closed the site in 2016 because of mold, peeling paint and other health-related issues, as well as payment issues with the vendor. The vendor was delinquent on rent and lease payments totaling more than $200,000, and also owed back taxes and utility payments.

Republican Sen. Dale Fowler of Harrisburg said he hopes to see the site bring job opportunities to the area and encourage tourism in the region.

“The Rend Lake Resort has always been a great attraction in the area, adding to the number of unique Southern Illinois destinations that bring in visitors from all over,” he said. “I’m hopeful that this most recent request for proposals to reopen the resort will bring about a renewed sense of urgency to get this facility up and running.”

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