Duneland Chamber of Commerce is making for the upcoming Fireworks show at
Indiana Dunes State Park July 1 raised questions for Porter Town Council
member Elka Nelson and resulted in the Council tabling its annual monetary
contribution Tuesday night.
Maura Durham said the plan is for technicians to light the fireworks from
the shoreline at the state park, east of the bathhouse, eliminating the
additional cost of using a barge as in years past. Snow fencing and
barricades will be used to block off the crowds a safe distance away, she
The new set-up has
met with approval from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources,
according to Durham.
Durham on what the environmental impact would be of having the fireworks on
the beach, saying that a lot is being “kicked around at the state park” with
the current reconstruction work on the Dunes Pavilion by Pavilion Partners,
LLC, which she also raised as a safety concern for the event. But Nelson
also said that her statements isn’t to say there shouldn’t be construction.
Nelson was also
worried that the Town of Porter employees would get stuck with the clean-up
and pointed out that Porter routinely dishes out more funds for the
fireworks -- $3,000 -- than Chesterton, which pays $2,500, and Burns Harbor,
which pays $2,000, and yet Porter “gets treated like the orphan.”
“The way we can
help some of our employees in our departments is by saying no to some of
this stuff,” she said.
Durham said that if
Porter decided to lower its contribution by $500, she believes that
businesses in Duneland would be willing to kick in funds to make up the
The Chamber wishes
for the three Duneland communities to get on board, Durham said, as it feels
“it makes a positive statement” to the 13,000 to 20,000 anticipated
attendees, some from outside Porter County, to see the collaboration across
“(The event) brings
a lot of people to see our communities working together with our fire,
police and town councils,” Durham said. “It captures all of what our
communities are able to provide.”
Durham said she
also wishes for the event not to make any harmful impact on the environment.
Greg Stinson pointed out to Durham that as the Chamber is working to keep
costs down and save some money, the request for town to pony up $3,000 is
the same expense as in past years. “I would like to see some savings come
back to the town,” he said.
Jeannine Virtue made the motion for the Council to pay the $2,500 out of
CEDIT money for its contribution, but the discussion drifted further into
how safety would be handled and what liability the town would have.
Nelson said she
would like to know more details and examine the contract the Chamber has
proposed with the company running the fireworks show and discuss it with
town attorney Gregg Sobkowski.
The Council voted
unanimously 5-0 to table the request until the next meeting so it can
receive more information.
Porter Police Chief
Jamie Spanier said he wouldn’t know how many town police officers are needed
until he sees the final plan.
Durham said the
delay shouldn’t be a problem as last year it wasn’t until the end April when
planning among the towns began and there will be enough time for the Chamber
to approach businesses to discuss potential sponsorships.
Prior to the
discussion, resident Jennifer Klug spoke out on Chamber’s request, saying
she would rather see “the people with money behind” Pavilion Partners chip
in for the fireworks than the town, which she said is struggling with its
budgets. “We have so many needs, so many expenses we’re facing. I think the
money would be better spent on the town than the fireworks,” Klug said.