The Following is
a Chesterton Tribune Editorial
our readers are asking us “What’s next in the Indiana Dunes State Park
Reports by the
Associated Press, the Post-Tribune and this newspaper have shown that the
pavilion banquet center project was pushed forward in secret at the highest
levels of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to benefit a state
committee member of the Indiana Republican Party.
The result is a
project virtually nobody wants that would lock up a priceless resource for
up to 65 years and set a precedent for the entire Indiana state parks
comes at a bad time for the state. Indiana is on the eve of marking the
Bicentennial of statehood. Events will feature a celebration of Hoosier
progress, including the proud history of DNR.
project, a subversion of everything the DNR stands for, calls into question
the tradition of public state parks as places of serenity operated for the
benefit of all Hoosiers.
The pavilion debate
need not be a purely partisan fight. Opposition to the defilement of the
public’s beach includes Republicans, Democrats and independents.
Lawmakers of both
parties have an opportunity, if they move quickly, to limit the damage and
restore public confidence.
* First, the
governor and state legislators should take public stands against no-bid
contracts for public park facilities.
lawmakers should voice opposition to selling off public natural resource
assets to private investors or using long-term leases to do the same.
* Third, the
governor should take immediate steps to cancel the project, remove the
disastrous block house rest room building and restore the historic pavilion
as a bathhouse aimed at serving the general public with sanitary rest rooms
and fast, healthy food. The process for undoing the damage and designing a
fix should be open and include ample opportunity for public participation.
lawmakers should announce public legislative hearings on the Indiana Dunes
State Park project with an eye to finding out who was responsible and
preventing this happening at other Indiana State parks.
* And lastly,
citizens of both parties and their volunteer organizations should call on
their public officials to take these actions now so all Hoosiers can join
together to celebrate 200 years of Indiana heritage.
Readers, if you are members of groups that have stood on the sidelines in
this fight, pick up the phone.