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.
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"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.