Chesterton Tribune



Town Council member Jim Ton speaks out on Pavilion proposal

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Chesterton Town Council Member Jim Ton, R-1st, has identified himself as a member of the other group which responded to the DNR’s Pavilion prospectus.

The DNR rejected that proposal in favor of the one submitted by Pavilion Partners LLC, a notable feature of which--a 30,000-square foot banquet facility to be built just east of the Pavilion--has generated considerable interest in Duneland.

Ton, for his part, while wishing Pavilion Partners well in its enterprise, has concerns both about the transparency of the process by which the DNR reviewed the two proposals and about the proximity of the banquet center to the lakeshore. At the Town Council’s meeting Monday night, Ton read the following prepared statement:

“In the interests of full disclosure and transparency, I participated with a group of individuals interested in developing a Pavilion project three years ago. A different group was chosen to do the job and I am not at all troubled by that. They have my best wishes. My only interest in the project is that it is done in the best interests of the public and the environment.

“There are two matters of interest that await a response from ‘Partners’ and the DNR. Hopefully, this will take place at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday this week.

“(1) A full disclosure of the process of selection of the current proposal is needed. A significant lack of public input is the principal concern.

“(2) As real estate professionals say, ‘Location, location, location.’ Other state parks have meeting centers, etc. Such a facility is something that could benefit the public and the park but not on the beach front. Ideally, even though ‘contracts have been signed,’ some alternative location is chosen. It all really depends on the position of the ‘Partners’ and the DNR.

“It could be said that public input is ‘better late than never.’ One of the Top Ten State Parks in America deserves better.”

The event on Wednesday to which Ton refers is the second public input session scheduled by the DNR in as many weeks. It will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, in the auditorium of Chesterton Middle School, 651 W. Morgan Ave. in Chesterton. Doors open at 5:45 p.m.

The DNR will begin the event with a short presentation. The floor will then be opened to the public for comments and questions.

The first input session was held on April 6 at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center. Its open-house format, however, was found by some to be ungainly, given the number of people who attended and who had questions to ask.




Posted 4/14/2015




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