INDIANAPOLIS — Nearly two dozen Region residents urged the Senate Public Policy Committee on Monday to reject House-approved legislation that could allow alcohol sales at a renovated Indiana Dunes State Park pavilion.
House Bill 1247, which is set for a committee vote Wednesday, authorizes the Department of Natural Resources to obtain a new “state park” alcohol permit, for any or all of its parks, without having to follow most of the procedures typically required to get state permission to sell beer, wine or liquor — including local review.
Opponents of the measure said allowing alcohol will destroy the family-friendly atmosphere of the Dunes, inevitably lead to development beyond the renovated pavilion and increase competition for local businesses.
State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, also seemed to speak for many when she called the DNR’s contract with Pavilion Partners overly generous, and blasted the end-run of the local review process that twice denied the developer an alcohol sales permit.
“We do this far too often here. When somebody can’t get what they want at home, they come to the Legislature and say, ‘Here do this for me,’ “ Tallian said. “I think this is an abuse of our process.”
A similar number of groups spoke in favor of the pavilion project and alcohol licenses, including local building trades unions, Region tourism organizations, the state’s commerce agency and the DNR.