Chesterton Tribune



Dunes advocate Herb Read opposes State Park beach conference center

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Voice of the People

As many of you know, my family has been involved in trying to save and protect the Indiana Dunes, dating back to before World War I. We labored to establish both the Indiana Dunes State Park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. I was carried through the Indiana Dunes even before I was born. Saving and protecting the Indiana Dunes became a multi-generational endeavor for us. So I am very gratified to see so many people objecting to the "Mistake-on-the-Lake," or the "Big Blob on the Beach."

This proposal for construction of a large new Conference Center adjoining and directly east of the existing Pavilion, would be a grab of public park land to benefit politically connected private, profit-making investors, namely Pavilion Partners LLC. It would be a superbly favorable deal for the private investors and solidify competitive advantage for them for up to 65 years.

Why is this specific beach location so important that it must be left free and clear of visual obstruction? For travelers looking for a place of natural beauty, first impressions of a park are important and lasting.

For all the decades of IDSPís existence, the first-time visitor, upon entering the parking lot has an unforgettable view of Lake Michigan, the beach, and the dunes to the east of the existing Pavilion. If the private investors have their way, that important view will be blocked by a new building.

The investors knew there would be objections, so they tried to keep their plan secret from our local newspapers until February 27, 2015, when it was discovered by a Chesterton Tribune reporter. The investors also knew that DNR was more popular with the public than private investors. DNR's future plans for IDSP did not include a new building until Pavilion Partners came up with their proposal.

The investors are now using DNR employees to answer difficult questions. Regardless of their personal views, DNR employees must defend the Administration line. There are many more bad ideas involved in this scheme that require further discussion. Such as the "Done-Deal" claim meant to discourage opponents. The investors will start construction any time. But true dunes defenders don't fade away or fear a legal battle. The architectural design is irrelevant. It's still the wrong building at the wrong location.

Herbert P. Read


Posted 5/18/2015







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