Chesterton Tribune



Dunes Action asks prosecutor to investigate alleged Pavilion violations

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On Wednesday, April 18, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and Dunes Action jointly reported two apparent violations of Indiana Code to Porter County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Gensel, related to what the two groups believe are unauthorized construction activities at the Indiana Dunes State Park Pavilion.

The work in question involves the partial destruction of the West Plaza where the comfort center is now located and the construction of an elevator shaft that protrudes through the Pavilion roof. Dunes Action maintains that this work was done without a valid permit, which is required by state law. The group also asserts that a certificate of approval was required for the demolition of the Pavilion interior, because a portion of the work was done by state employees.

“The law gives Mr. Gensel no flexibility,” said Dunes Action co-founder, Jim Sweeney. “These violations must be rigidly enforced, according to state law.”

Dunes Action communicated with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office about the violations last month, but in a recent letter to PEER, the AG’s Office stated that the matter is under the purview of the local prosecuting attorney.

“Future work cannot go forward without a permit or a certificate of approval,” Sweeney said. “Both Pavilion Partners and the DNR have an obligation to follow these laws.”

While Dunes Action supports a historically appropriate restoration of the Pavilion, the group does not approve of the addition of two balconies or a rooftop pub. “These laws were enacted to preserve Indiana’s historical heritage, and we expect to see them enforced by Mr. Gensel,” Sweeney said. “The Porter County Prosecutor’s Office has the responsibility to pursue speedy and fair prosecutions of all crimes committed within Porter County.”

PEER and Dunes Action are prepared to follow up and ensure that prompt action is taken. Although no work has occurred on the project this year, the two groups say that any additional construction on the Pavilion without proper authorization would be another violation.

PEER is a non-profit public interest organization that focuses on the environment, including management of public land and ethics in government. Dunes ACTION! is a grassroots, all-volunteer, non-partisan coalition. They can be found on Facebook and at




Posted 4/25/2018




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