Chesterton Tribune



DNR responds to Town of Chesterton questions on Pavilion project

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A month and a half ago, on May 26, the Chesterton Town Council sent a letter of inquiry to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, seeking information and clarification regarding the proposed banquet facility at Indiana Dunes State Park.

The council did not take an official position on the banquet facility at the time, and has not since. But members did express an interest in certain aspects of the Pavilion project.

DNR Director of Parks Dan Bortner, for his part, promptly responded to the councilís letter with one of his own, dated June 3.

The council took receipt of that letter on June 12.

Both letters are now part of the public record and at the councilís meeting Monday night, Member Jim Ton, R-1st, released to the press his own summary of the townís original letter and of Bortnerís response. Neither he nor this colleagues discussed the issue at all, however, and it would appear that the council is satisfied for the moment to let the matter rest.

A summary of Tonís summary:

Question 1: The IDSP 2008 Interpretive Master Plan included no mention of banquet service in its discussion of restaurant service at the Pavilion. By whose initiative and for what reasons was banquet service included in the 2011 Prospectus as a minimum expectation?

Bortnerís response to Q1: Facilities and infrastructure are generally addressed by a Property Master Plan, not an Interpretive Master Plan. The Prospectus was not, nor was it intended to be, directly related to the Interpretive Master Plan.

Question 2: Are there concrete--as opposed to conceptual--plans for the banquet facility? How can the public comment on these plans?

Bortnerís response to Q2: Final plans are not yet completed nor will they be for some months. The drawing presented at the open house on April 6 was designed to show mass, not actual design. Input on the design should be e-mailed to

Question 3: What environmental protections will be incorporated into the design of the banquet facility, specifically to mitigate bird strikes?

Bortnerís response to Q3: All opportunities for green construction and operating principles will be considered.

Question 4: How will the wastewater generated by the banquet facility be treated?

Bortnerís response to Q4: The wastewater will be treated on site at IDSPís current facility.

Question 5: There were no opportunities for public comment prior to the award of the concession to Pavilion Partners LLC and the signing of the lease. How have you responded to concerns about transparency?

Bortnerís response to Q5: We provided comment cards at the open house and held a subsequent public meeting. The DNR has also created a webpage which includes a timeline, FAQs, and documents at

Re: Abandoned and Vacant Buildings

In other business, Ton reported that Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann continues to review the applicability of Indianaís vacant- and abandoned-building law, which provides for the abatement of such structures under certain, very carefully defined conditions.

Ton noted that, should the council enact a similar ordinance, it would apply to all buildings in town which might meet those conditions, not simply to a few which have been the subject of discussion at recent council meetings.

Kudos to Porter

Ton also took a moment at the end of the meeting to congratulate the Town of Porter on its being named one of the Top 30 Safest Cities in Indiana by

Porter made the list at No. 18.

ďItís always rewarding to have your efforts recognized,Ē Ton said.


Posted 7/15/2015




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