resident Rich Whitlow made his second appearance this week at a town council
meeting, asking Porter officials to send word to Governor Mike Pence and the
DNR to stop work by Pavilion Partners at Indiana Dunes Pavilion.
One night after
asking the Chesterton Town Council to take action, without much success,
Whitlow appeared at the Porter Town Council meeting Tuesday asking the
Council to pass a resolution to stop the construction at the Indiana Dunes
Whitlow didn’t let
loose on backers of Pavilion Partners as much as he did at Chesterton, but
continued to denounce the DNR for not putting before the public the permits
or the plans for the pavilion renovation and proposed 30,000 sq. ft. banquet
“What is our legacy
going to be in 65 years? This? I find that unacceptable.” Whitlow said,
addressing his points so loudly he joked the Council might need to get the
police to remove him from the meeting.
natural beauty of the Dunes, Whitlow said he figures that based on the
assessment of unused property at Worthington Steel in Porter, Indiana Dunes
State Park at 2,000 acres could be worth $2.5 billion.
Whitlow let the
Council know he is “in complete opposition” to the proposed project, but he
said he would agree that the pavilion is in need of renovation.
He then asked if
the Porter Fire Department has seen the plans, saying they would need to
have them since they are primary fire response unit. Assistant Fire Chief
Jay Craig said the blueprints have not been brought to the department.
Whitlow also thinks
the Town should have received a sewer treatment plan for the pavilion site,
since the sewer would have to come through town from Chesterton.
Greg Stinson told Whitlow, as the Chesterton Town Council did, that the Town
has no power over the matter as the state park is part of unincorporated
Both Stinson and
Council member Elka Nelson said they have publicly expressed their
opposition to what is being done, but did not feel a town council resolution
that Whitlow’s is the “most unusual request” she’s heard in her years as a
Stinson and Nelson
agreed on the merits of Whitlow’s claim about the plans and asked the
Council’s attorney Gregg Sobkowski to determine for them if the town would
need to have the building plans on hand. If so, they could put in a request
to receive them.
Jeannine Virtue said she would need to recuse herself if the Council decided
anything since her husband is involved with the project.
Whitlow said he has
“a lot of respect” for the Virtues for “standing tall” at the recent open
house hosted by DNR at Chesterton Middle School. “They should be proud of
that,” he said.
The Porter County
Plan Commission has also reported not having the plans, Whitlow said. He
will try to ask the Indiana Building Law Compliance Office next.
Whitlow said he
intends to approach the town councils of Portage, Ogden Dunes and Michigan
City -- lakefront communities -- to see if they would take measures to stop
the work at the pavilion.