The Dorothy Buell
Memorial Visitor Center will hit its ten-year milestone later this month,
Porter County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission Executive
Director Lorelei Weimer told her board at its meeting last week.
On Nov. 29, 2006,
local officials and environmentalists packed the visitor center to dedicate
the facility at 1215 N. Ind. 49 at the southeast corner of the U.S. 20
cloverleaf in Porter.
The Visitor Center
has since been home to the PCCRVC and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
through a partnership of Federal and County governments. It was built after
a long-time collaboration between the National Park Service, Department of
Interior, Indiana Dunes State Park, and the Department of Natural Resources.
“It’s amazing it’s
been ten years already. I still call it the new visitor center. That’s what
it is like for me,” said Weimer.
Center has seen a few added attractions with the dedication of the Judy
Chaplin Memorial Garden, the connection of the Dunes-Kankakee Trail and an
art walk with murals created this summer by artist Ryan “ARCY” Christianson.
Concept plans were
made last year for a $1.6 million floor space redesign that would
incorporate visual and interactive features to educate visitors about the
2017 Tourism Grants
The board voted
unanimously on the grant committees recommendation to award $26,250 in
tourism development grants to local community festivals, sporting
competitions and other events that have the potential to boost tourism and
to help the events to grow.
Vice-President Scott Tuft said 15 out of the 17 applicants were awarded
The grants can be
used for promotion expenses and print materials such as brochures and
Each applicant must
give the committee specific details as to how many visitors they are
expecting and what they will do to achieve that goal. Tuft said overnight
stays are a major component of the grants and many of the music festivals
have booked a lot of rooms.
“That’s what we
want to see coming to this community,” said Tuft.
recipients include Gears of Hope Duneland Tour, $2,000; Indiana Dunes
Birding Festival, $2,500; Prairie Music Fest, $2,500; Dunes Learning Center
camps, $1,000; and Hooked on Art, $1,500.
met last Wednesday to consider the applicants. Tuft sits on the committee
with PCCRVC Treasurer Richard Riley and Cathy Brown.
In other action:
-- The board
authorized Weimer to send letters of support to agencies for the Indiana
Dunes National Lakeshore to receive $27.4 million of deferred maintenance
money. The National Park Service recently released its deferred maintenance
statistics from the 2015 fiscal year which reported nearly $12 billion
backlogged for national parks in deferred maintenance to improve
infrastructure, facilities, trails and campgrounds.
-- The October
Innkeeper’s tax collection check for October was $145,746, a year-to-date
increase of 2.5 percent on a cash basis from 2015, Riley reported in his
-- PCCRVC Assistant
Director Christine Livingston showed the board the new fishing attractions
page on the Indiana Dunes Tourism website.
-- The board will
meet next on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 4 p.m. at Riley’s Railhouse in Chesterton.
Weimer said she will report on the latest economic impact study for tourism
in the county.