DNR accepting proposals for Belle Isle boathouse rehabilitation

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DNR News

Feb. 20, 2024
Contact: Tom Bissett, 313-264-6368

DNR accepting proposals for Belle Isle boathouse rehabilitation

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources continues to review options for the deteriorated Belle Isle Boathouse, located on the Detroit River in Belle Isle Park.

bird's-eye view of boathouse

In August 2022, the boathouse was deemed structurally unsound due to significant deterioration, including a collapsed floor, a caved-in roof, peeling exterior stucco, deteriorated steel and concrete structural members, and other structural needs.

More recently, with the launch of a project webpage and online question-and-comment form, the DNR invited the public to learn about the options and associated costs for various courses of action. In January, a summary of the public comments and answers to common questions were posted online.

"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," said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation chief. "We are open to partnering with the private sector to rehabilitate the boathouse; however, no viable parties have yet come forward."

The DNR is now accepting letters of intent from interested parties who can outline viable proposals for potential rehabilitation. Proposals should incorporate significant public recreation elements and align with the park's mission and purpose. 

  • Applicants who submit a letter of intent and are selected by the DNR will be eligible to submit a formal proposal.
  • The deadline to submit letters of intent is 3 p.m. Friday, March 29, 2024.
  • Invited formal proposals will be due at 3 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2024.

Anyone interested in the future of the Belle Isle boathouse is encouraged to visit the project webpage, which includes background information, overall investments, a timeline, future options, a photo gallery, and information on proposals and the process for submitting letters of intent.

For more information, contact Tom Bissett, urban district supervisor for the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, at 313-264-6368 or BissettT@Michigan.gov.

Note to editors: An accompanying photo is available below for download.