Voice of the
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
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