Chesterton Tribune



Dunes Action to meet March 12 to discuss Pavilion architectural plans

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Dunes Action will hold a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 12, at the Westchester Public Library’s Baugher Center, 100 W. Indiana Ave. in Chesterton.

The purpose of the meeting is to update the community on the newly released plans for the historic Pavilion at Indiana Dunes State Park.

The group is saying there is still time to protest various features of the proposed plans. “After nearly three years, the DNR has finally posted the project plans,” said Dunes Action member Norman Hellmers. “Prior to this, the public has had no opportunity to see what’s in store for the Pavilion. If anyone thought they were getting a truly ‘historic’ restoration, in fact, they’ve been misled.”

The current plans, posted on Feb. 2, show an expanded bar area dominating the first floor, which is to be used for casual family dining. The second floor plan also devotes additional space to bar patrons. “The first floor has a huge bar right in the middle of it, making it totally unsuitable for families,” Hellmers said. “And the second floor now uses an entire balcony exclusively for bar seating.”

The plans also include multiple exterior modifications that Dunes Action finds unacceptable: two large balconies on the north side of the Pavilion; outdoor dining and drinking areas on the concrete plaza; and a modern glass-enclosed structure on the roof, housing what was previously called a “lounge,” but is now being called a “restaurant.”

As in a previous version of the plans, seating areas for paying customers take up all of the available space on the rooftop. “The roof won’t be accessible to ordinary park goers to use as an observation deck, unless they’re buying drinks or bar food,” Dunes Action co-founder Jim Sweeney said. “So how does that support outdoor public recreation? All that supports is commercial activity.”

The group contends that the glassed-in rooftop and two balconies are unnecessary and damaging to the historic building and that proposed outdoor dining terraces beneath the balconies will hinder recreational activity and ADA access to the beach. “The DNR has said that work will start with the general store and concessions area on the northeast side of the Pavilion,” Hellmers said. “The public still has time to voice their opinions on plans for other areas of the building. We hope they’ll come to our meeting to find out just how undesirable these plans are.”

Dunes ACTION! is a grassroots, all-volunteer, non-partisan coalition. For more information, visit its Facebook page or



Posted 3/5/2018




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