What should be the future of the Belle Isle Boathouse? One fate of the deteriorating historic building is demolition. But maybe someone out there has the vision - and funds - to renovate and activate it.

The Michigan Department of National Resources is now accepting proposals for rehabbing the boathouse. Interested parties have until March 29 to submit a letter of intent. Those with viable ideas could be invited to submit proposals. 

According to a press release, "Proposals should incorporate significant public recreation elements and align with the park's mission and purpose."

"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."

In 2022, parts of the building collapsed, leaving the building unsafe for use. The DNR listed demolition as an option for the building moving forward. They collected feedback from the public earlier this winter, and information can be found on the project page.

Estimates for a rehab of the building have been around $43 million. $2 million in American Rescue Plan funding has been set aside for the boathouse, and it needs to be used by late 2026.