Indiana Dunes State Park pavilion

Pavilion Partners build a separate building for washrooms and shows in preparation for renovation of the pavilion at Indiana Dunes State Park.

CHESTERTON — Dunes Action, an organization opposed to the present plans for renovations to the pavilion at the Indiana Dunes State Park, is calling for a new public hearing on the project.

The group recently sent a letter to Indiana Department of Natural Resources Director Cameron Clark, requesting a meeting in Northwest Indiana.

"This project has been riddled with problems, partly because there’s been no public dialogue. We’re now asking the DNR to give us -- the owners of this historic building -- an opportunity to learn what’s really going on, and to provide some much-needed input," said Jim Sweeney, Dunes Action co-founder, in a written statement.

While Dunes Action agrees the pavilion is in need of restoration, it wants it to be done in a way that is faithful to the building’s history and integrity.

According to statements made by Indiana State Park Director Dan Bortner to the Indiana Natural Resources Commission in 2012, the DNR’s original intention seemed to be a simple return to the building’s original design.

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Dunes Action believes the DNR and its lessee, Pavilion Partners LLC, have strayed too far from that goal, Sweeney said.

There are also issues related to whether the project meets Land and Water Conservation Fund requirements.

The latest plans for the pavilion, released by the DNR in February 2018, call for a bar/restaurant covering the rooftop and the addition of two balconies on the lake side, according to the group.

"Dunes Action thinks a meeting will be a win-win for everyone. The DNR can provide up-to-date information and address the public’s concerns, and the public will finally have a say on what they do or don’t want at the pavilion. Now that the project plans are once again in flux, this is the perfect time to do it," Sweeney said.

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.