Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Indiana Dunes State Park and Why I Oppose the Banquet Facility

The proposed banquet facility at the Indiana Dunes State Park. To the left, the building with the arched windows, is the historic pavilion. To the right, the boxy building, is a rendering of the proposed banquet facility.

I am opposed to the new banquet facility at the Indiana Dunes State Park for the following reasons:

1. Architecture: A friend of mine said the new banquet facility looked like a "parking garage" and I can only agree.  It looks like no attempt, except maybe the external colors, has been made to match or blend in with the historic pavilion.  Instead, IMHO we get a box worthy of a low grade motel on a lonely stretch of Interstate.  I think it is butt-ugly.  The Dunes State Park is the jewel in the crown of the Indiana state park system, if a banquet hall is going to be built we can do must better architecturally.

2. Lack of Transparency Before Hand: The public only seemed to hear about this banquet facility, after the contracts were already signed. In other words, word only got out after it was a done-deal. Maybe, I am wrong, maybe the Indiana DNR minimally jumped through all the proper hoops and open door laws before signing the agreement but it does not look very transparent from where I sit.  Save the Dunes also thinks there was a lack of public disclosure and discourse too, and therefore they also oppose it. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of Save the Dunes, at least I think my dues are paid up.

3. Continuing Obfuscation: Something about the open house and the Q&A with reporters does not feel right.

Let me be clear, I'm not necessarily opposed to any banquet hall operating at the Indiana Dunes State  Park. The right building with proper public notification and input might be alright.

Likewise, I am all for the restaurant that is going to locate in the historic pavilion which is being renovated.  There once was a restaurant in the pavilion.

In all the local newspaper reporting on the restaurant I have read, it has never been clear if the pavilion is being restored to it's former fancy glory, as in the picture above, or if it is going to be just another uninspired remodeling job.  I wish some intrepid newspaper would clarify this.

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