Chesterton Tribune in February.
The lease provides
for annual rental payments of $18,000. After a two year period, 2 percent of
gross receipts will also be paid to the state.
whether members of the Pavilion Partners group had an unfair competitive
advantage, due to prior contact with the DNR, were raised in the front page
Post-Tribune story by reporter Amy Lavalley.
The story reported
that public records show Pavilion Partner principals sent emails and
renovation plans to the DNR in September of 2010, and also had a meeting
with DNR staff in March 2011.
“The two parties
were discussing major changes to this world-famous park over four years ago,
yet in all that time the public never knew of this relationship, nor did the
state request the needed permission for this project from the National Park
Service, until we raised that red flag this year,” said Desi Robertson,
co-founder of Dunes Action.
deserves more answers about how the DNR established this lucrative deal, and
especially about why one set of proposers got their own private tour of the
Pavilion with DNR staff a year before the prospectus was released,” said
“It looks like the
Partners had access to the DNR well before the Request for Proposals was
released. If that is the case, then it was not a fair and open process,”
said Jim Sweeney, president of the Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton
The Izaak Walton
League has asked the National Park Service to halt the project due to
restrictions on development within the park under previous grants from the
Land and Water Conservation Fund. The League has passed a resolution against
the proposed development.
While Dunes Action
has supported restoration of the Pavilion, it is opposed to the banquet
center and a liquor license that would bring three bars to the park.
Dunes ACTION! is a
volunteer, non-partisan coalition.