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Indiana Dunes State Park pavilion

The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission issued the Department of Natural Resources a license to sell beer, wine and liquor in August 2016 in the Indiana Dunes State Park pavilion.

VALPARAISO — A public hearing Thursday morning on an alcohol permit for Indiana Dunes State Park has been cancelled, to the chagrin of opponents.

Dunes Action co-founder Jim Sweeney said the group, which opposes the alcohol permit for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, had lined up a lot of supporters to attend the meeting at the Porter County Administration Center Thursday morning, as advertised in legal notices.

Dunes Action has been a vocal opponent of the public-private partnership for renovating the park's pavilion, where alcohol will be served.

On Wednesday, Sweeney said, Dunes Action was notified via email by David Cook, director of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, that the meeting was called off.

Jessica Allen, executive secretary to the commission, said the local board hearing was scheduled by mistake. This is the first renewal for the DNR.

“Pursuant to statute effective 7/1/16, state parks are not required to appear before county local boards,” Allen said.

That law says the commission shall issue a permit to the DNR without publication of notice or investigation before a local board.

“Many of our supporters are still upset with the current plans to add retail alcohol sales on both floors of the pavilion and on the roof,” Sweeney said. “They are still chomping at the bit to tell someone off.”

“We are still watching this closely,” Sweeney said. “A public beach in a popular state park is a terrible place to sell booze.”

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Porter County Government Reporter

Senior reporter Doug Ross, an award-winning writer, has been covering Northwest Indiana for more than 35 years, including more than a quarter of a century at The Times.