Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Editorial: Bipartisan opposition to pavilion project is opportunity for lawmakers

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The Following is a Chesterton Tribune Editorial

Many of our readers are asking us “What’s next in the Indiana Dunes State Park pavilion fight?”

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 system.

The controversy 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.

The pavilion 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.

*  Second, 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.

*  Fourth, 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.

An addendum: Readers, if you are members of groups that have stood on the sidelines in this fight, pick up the phone.

 

 

Posted 8/31/2015

 
 
 
 

 

 

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