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Michigan DNR seeking proposals to rehabilitate Belle Isle Boathouse

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Feb. 20, 2024
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Feb. 20, 2024 04:01

(CBS DETROIT) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting proposals to rehabilitate the 122-year-old Belle Isle Boathouse.

This comes nearly two years after the boathouse along the Detroit River was deemed "structurally unsound" in August 2022. Issues include a collapsed floor, caved-in roof, peeling exterior stucco, and deteriorated steel and concrete structural members.

After two assessments were completed in 2019 and 2022, consultants estimated a $43.9 million price tag to restore the building. The DNR also considered the option of removing the structure for $2 million, which was approved by the Michigan Legislature.

"Due to limited available funds, the DNR has to make the tough choice of investing in a portion of the necessary structural repairs with no lasting fix or demolishing and reimagining the space," DNR Parks and Recreation chief Ron Olson said in a press release. "We are open to partnering with the private sector to rehabilitate the boathouse; however, no viable parties have yet come forward." 

Applicants can submit a letter of intent by 3 p.m. on March 29. Those who are selected to be eligible to submit a formal proposal, which is due by 3 p.m. on July 31.

Click here for more information.

Built in 1902 by the Detroit Yacht Club, the boathouse is one of the oldest concrete structures in the United States. With the lack of maintenance, it was at risk of water damage, and in early 2022, a 15-foot section of deteriorated porch slab collapsed.

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