Dunes Action has
issued a statement against House Bill 1247, now in the Senate Public Policy
The statement reads
“The Indiana Department of Natural Resources and certain business groups
claim that economic benefit will come from serving alcohol at Indiana state
parks, with the Dunes State Park as the case in point. However, we believe
that House Bill 1247 will negatively impact both the park’s environment and
nearby local businesses.”
return of Pavilion Partners’ project, which hinges solely on serving
alcohol, is marginal and uncertain at best. At a presentation given to the
Duneland Chamber on June 18, 2015, Pavilion Partners stated that the
cumulative benefit to the DNR would be $8.75 million at the end of 35 years.
“Even if the
estimate is accurate, this return to the state of Indiana is less than what
the DNR brings into the state’s coffers in a single year. This amount is not
worth the possible damage to the park or its surrounding communities.
According to the state’s fiscal note on HB 1247, the DNR collected a total
of $9.17 million from admissions and entrance revenues for Fiscal Year 2015
(which ended 6/30/15).
‘The DNR’s strategy
for its park system appears to be to exploit the parks that are bringing in
money,” the statement reads.
Damage to State
“This strategy will
not help to preserve Dunes State Park, and could also damage other popular
parks and their nearby businesses. State parks were set aside for
preservation, not commercialism. Businesses located in commercial areas near
state parks are already subject to zoning restrictions, laws, and taxes that
don’t apply to state parks. Automatic DNR liquor licenses will add yet
another competitive disadvantage for small businesses to overcome, whether
in Duneland or elsewhere in the state.
“In the case of the
Dunes State Park, this will be done in spite of valid and widespread local
citizen opposition to reintroducing alcohol. Dunes State Park is already an
economic driver that attracts visitors to Chesterton and Porter to spend
money at nearby small businesses.
“Rather than being
partners in the economic community, small businesses will now be forced to
compete with the DNR/Pavilion Partners, and this preferential law will grant
an automatic license to serve alcohol where nobody else can,” DA stated.
“Heather Ennis of
the NWI Forum has spoken extensively in support of HB 1247. It is
unfortunate that the former president of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce
seems to have so quickly forgotten the challenges faced by small businesses
in Chesterton and Porter.
“Both DNR Director
Cameron Clark and Ms. Ennis have stated that giving automatic liquor
licenses to the DNR is the same as automatically giving them to the State
Fair Grounds and Lucas Oil Stadium. It appears that those who push “economic
development” make no distinction between state parks and paved-over pieces
of ground. The function of a state park is dramatically different from the
function of either a fair ground or stadium.
Last acre of ground
“In May of 1958,
Senator Paul H. Douglas said, "The Dunes are a symbol of the crisis that
faces all Americans. It is as though we were standing on the last acre and
were faced with a decision of how it should be used. In actuality, it is the
last acre of its kind. In essence, it foreshadows the time not too far
removed when we shall in all truth be standing on that last unused,
unprotected acre and shall be wondering which way to go.”
Dunes State Park and reintroducing alcohol there will forever alter its
character. We must now protect both the last acre of its kind, and the
communities that surround it,” the statment concludes.
Dunes ACTION! can
be found on Facebook and at