MICHIGAN CITY | Up to 200 tons of sand will be taken from the top of a large dune in Michigan City.
Officials emphasize, though, the sand is not being taken from the dune called Krueger Hill near the city's observation tower at Washington Park a few hundred feet from the Lake Michigan shoreline. Rather, it will be taken from man-made pile of sand that has been swept from the nearby parking lot.
"We're not sand mining. We're doing a good thing by having someone buy the sand and use it for recreation," said Jeffrey Katz, attorney for the Michigan City Park Board.
Katz said the sand is being purchased by Ross Balling, of Volleyball Professionals, who plans to have trucks haul the sand away for use in a fall league in the Hobart area before the first of October.
Initially, Balling wanted to take "pristine sand" closer to the shoreline, which Katz said would have been "unprecedented."
But the board, sensing environmental concerns, offered Balling the sand at Krueger Hill, which is sand blown off the beaches onto the parking lots of Washington Park.
Board member Phillp Freese said the sand is swept every spring from the parking lots and taken to the large stockpile of used sand at Krueger Hill.
"It's just used sand. It's not any good," said Freese, who added, "we're not going to do anything that destroys the dunes."
The city is being paid $6.25 per ton, said Katz, who believes this is the first time the used sand has ever been sold by the park board.
Katz said the land is owned by the city and is not part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Gene Davis said no state permits were required to have the sand removed since it is city property.
Davis said the DNR only gets involved in matters involving state owned lakes or streams and if any digging would alter the shoreline or the bottom of a lake.
Save The Dunes officials said they wanted to research the matter further before making any comment on the issue.