A new 2,050-square-foot boathouse has opened along the banks of the Busse Reservoir, a centralized location within the Ned Brown Forest Preserve near Elk Grove Village where outdoor enthusiasts can buy bait and tackle, rent a boat or grab a snack.
The building replaces temporary trailers that have been in place for the last 12 years and previous trailers that were there since the reservoir opened to the public in 1980.
"They provided a very functional service. But we recognize that Busse Woods, being one of the busiest preserves in the system, really needed a structure of this nature to help facilitate the uses: boat rental, concessions, live bait and everything associated with fishing," said Arnold Randall, general superintendent for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.
A boathouse had been proposed for the site since 2003, but the project was delayed due to lack of funding and other construction priorities, according to Don Parker, a forest preserve district spokesman.
The building cost $725,000 to construct.
On Friday, officials from the district and Elk Grove Village attended a ribbon cutting for the boathouse. Students competing in the Illinois High School Association's bass fishing sectional tournament brought their best catch from the nearby waters to a weigh-in at the boathouse.
Starting today, the boathouse will be open to the public seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., weather permitting. It will offer rentals of canoes, kayaks, rowboats and paddleboats, and rods and tackle can be purchased for fishing. The facility will offer a concession area with grab-and-go snacks, but eventually could offer more food options, Parker said.
"We're very excited about having a permanent structure that's attractive and will offer amenities," Parker said.
The boathouse will close for the season in October.
• Daily Herald staff photographer Joe Lewnard contributed to this report.