Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) released a draft of its
Marquette Action Plan for a 30-day public comment period beginning on May
The draft is based
on the earlier Marquette Plan and is a “comprehensive and collaborative
vision for guiding future decision-making across all of Indiana’s Lake
The deadline for
input to be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org is Thursday, June 28.
Dunes Action, a
citizen group formed to advocate for public input and transparency at
Indiana Dunes State Park, has long opposed the DNR’s plans to build a
banquet center next to the historic Pavilion at Dunes State Park, and is
urging the public to take immediate action and provide comments on the
Marquette Action Plan.
“Dunes Action is
urging members of the community to tell the planning commission they oppose
inappropriate additions to the Pavilion and the building of a banquet center
at Indiana Dunes State Park,” said Jim Sweeney, Dunes Action co-founder.
“Additional access to Lake Michigan is important, but the plan should also
focus on preserving existing natural and cultural resources, such as the
historic Pavilion and its surrounding public lands,” he said.
“A NIRPC survey
which was part of the Marquette Action Plan process shows that the two most
important amenities to the public are lakefront beaches/conservation of
lands, and public parks,” Dunes Action said. “The survey also shows that the
public favors the preservation of historic buildings and neighborhoods.
Dunes Action believes that the Pavilion development, especially the proposed
banquet center, will have severe environmental impacts on the park and
lakeshore. In addition, the DNR has not accepted public input on the
restoration of the historic Pavilion. Dunes Action points out that the DNR’s
current plans will destroy historic features of the building, which is just
the opposite of what the public says it wants in the survey.”
Action Plan also addresses ADA access to the lakeshore, which Dunes Action
says will be negatively affected by the Pavilion project. “The plan to use
portions of the concrete pad, as well as converting the Pavilion roof into a
pub will actually decrease free public and ADA access,” Sweeney said.
The plan also
“encourages coordination” between the towns of Chesterton and Porter and the
Indiana Dunes State Park in comprehensive and recreation planning. Sweeney
said that he agrees. “Dunes Action would welcome this kind of coordination,
since in the past, the public has been purposely excluded from the planning
process. We think coordination concerning the proposed Pavilion
modifications and banquet center should be specifically added to the plan.”
The plan already
makes some specific recommendations, and Dunes Actions wants the public to
ask NIRPC to consider adding more:
* To restore the
state park Pavilion back to its “original design” (without additions) as the
DNR once indicated it would.
* To stop
construction of a banquet center adjacent to the Pavilion. “Over 11,000
members of the public have opposed the negative environmental and cultural
impacts of this project,” Sweeney said. “The commission should respond to
what the community wants and needs.”
Dunes Action is a
grassroots, all-volunteer, non-partisan coalition. For more information,
visit Facebook and www.dunesaction.org