Chesterton Tribune



Dunes Action alleges violation of state law in Pavilion project

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Dunes Action is alleging that state law governing historic structures was violated in connection with the Pavilion project at Indiana Dune State Park.

The group has outlined the alleged violation in a letter sent on Tuesday to Department of Natural Resources Director Cameron Clark, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, the Governor’s Office, and several state legislators.

“Our research shows that in early 2015 the DNR did not follow state-mandated procedures regarding historic structures,” said Dunes Action member Norman Hellmers. “We are asking the Attorney General’s Office to immediately investigate this matter.”

“At issue is whether alterations to the Pavilion were made without applying for a certificate of approval from the Indiana Historic Preservation Review Board, which would have triggered a public hearing,” Dunes Action said. “Indiana Code states that a ‘historic structure owned by the state . . . may not be altered, demolished, or removed by a project funded, in whole or in part, by the state unless the review board has granted a certificate of approval.’”

In response to inquiries from Dunes Action, the DNR has confirmed that Indiana Dunes State Park staff was involved in a portion of the interior demolition work at the Pavilion, Dunes Action said.

“Dunes Action believes that the DNR and Pavilion Partners should have applied for a certificate of approval from the Historic Preservation Review Board, since state employees and resources were used to alter a historic structure owned by the state,” said Hellmers. “Indiana Code 14-21-1-18 requires this, and as far as we know, it was never done.”

In its letter Dunes Action advises the DNR to immediately notify Pavilion Partners about the requirement for a valid certificate of approval, and states that work cannot proceed without one.

“It seems that Pavilion Partners and the DNR were in a big hurry to start demolishing the Pavilion,” Dunes Action Co-founder Jim Sweeney said. “Not only did they fail to comply with the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, but in their haste, we think they skipped a few other steps too,” he said.

Dunes ACTION! is a grassroots, all-volunteer, non-partisan coalition. It can be found on Facebook and at


Posted 2/28/2018




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