DUNES ACTION


INFORMATION ON THE PAVILION
AT INDIANA DUNES STATE PARK
AND ITS DESIGNED CULTURAL LANDSCAPE


Prepared by Dunes Action





The latest Dunes Action press release can be found here.





1.  PAVILION & CULTURAL LANDSCAPE
The two-story Pavilion and its surrounding landscape were constructed in 1929-1930. The project included the Pavilion, which was used as a bathhouse and a restaurant. The rooftop was used as an observation deck. Surrounding the Pavilion is a designed cultural landscape, which includes: (1) a paved walkway between the Pavilion and a concrete seawall, and (2) to either side of the Pavilion, paved areas known as Plazas (East Plaza and West Plaza). The cultural landscape elements are used for public outdoor recreation, especially by the public using walkers, wheelchairs, and strollers. Photographs of the Pavilion and its original surrounding cultural landscape can be found here:
http://dunes-action.com/pavilion_info/01/

2.  FAILURE OF DNR TO MAINTAIN PAVILION
The Pavilion served its purposes well, but the Indiana DNR gradually let the building and the quality of its facilities decline. This was despite financial assistance in 1973 from the federal government through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). After improvements were made, the DNR again allowed the building to deteriorate. This was in violation of federal regulations. Details on this matter can be found here:
http://dunes-action.com/pavilion_info/02/

3.  2010 DNR EMAIL RE MODIFICATIONS OF THE PAVILION
In 2010, Charles L. “Chuck” Williams, a Valparaiso-based developer contacted the leadership of the DNR regarding how he believed the Pavilion could be restored. Williams worked with architect Scott Virtue (of Virtue Architects) to prepare a set of proposed plans. These plans were submitted to the DNR for their consideration. In addition to rehabilitation of the interior of the building, their plans included a rooftop addition and two large balconies on the north (lake) side of the building.
The 2010 plans with the roof structure and balconies were reviewed by the DNR’s Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. Their conclusions were shared internally within the DNR and were communicated to Chuck Williams. The DNR emails noted the following [emphasis added]:
Their [the DHPA’s] opinion is that the plan as it stands would not be approved by the Review Board. That is not to say that a plan of some sort to renovate the Pavilion wouldn't pass, but this one has too many drastic changes to be considered eligible for a Certificate of Approval. . . . The exterior appearance of the proposed third floor and balconies is problematic. That's probably the biggest stumbling block right now, just because that is where the most drastic change will take place.
A summary of the internal DNR email (obtained through a public records request) and the original text of the email can be found here:
http://dunes-action.com/pavilion_info/03/

4.  INDIANA CODE 14-21-1-18(a) and (b)
The “Review Board” referred to is of course the DNR’s Historic Preservation Review Board [HPRB]. State law [Indiana Code 14-21-1-18] requires that a “historic structure owned by the state . . . may not be altered, demolished, or removed by a project funded, in whole or in part, by the state unless the review board has granted a certificate of approval.” No Certificate of Approval has ever been issued for this project in spite of the fact that the project has been funded in part by the DNR. The developer was informed that “The Secretary of the Interior, whose standards are applied to DHPA’s decision making process, can be a helpful guideline for architects when designing building renovations. . . .” Despite this advice, the DNR-approved plans — to this day — continue to include a rooftop restaurant/bar and two balconies, all inconsistent with the Secretary’s Standards. The Indiana law that requires a Certificate of Approval can be found here:
http://dunes-action.com/pavilion_info/04/

5.  PAVILION PROSPECTUS AND THE SECRETARY'S STANDARDS
On November 18, 2011, the DNR advertised a prospectus to “redevelop, operate and maintain the Indiana Dunes Pavilion and other appropriate facilities that would be compatible and enhance the operation.” The prospectus referred specifically to the requirement that any plans must follow the Secretary’s Standards. The proposal of Chuck Williams was selected. For the specific language in the prospectus regarding this requirement see:
http://dunes-action.com/pavilion_info/05/

6.  THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR'S STANDARDS
From the beginning, the opinion of Dunes Action has been that some aspects of the plans (the roof structure and the balconies) have not been in keeping with “historic preservation laws, standards and guidelines,” specifically the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and the Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes that are based on the Secretary’s Standards. For the specific breaches of the Standards see:
http://dunes-action.com/pavilion_info/06/

7.  “BROUGHT BACK TO ITS ORIGINAL DESIGN"
In 2012, the DNR sought the approval of the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to negotiate a lease with the selected developer. At the NRC meeting of May 15, 2012, Dan Bortner, Director of the DNR’s Division of State Parks and Reservoirs, said this of the Pavilion: “We want this brought back to its original design.” The proposed additions to the Pavilion will obviously not bring the building “back to its original design.” For the context of Bortner’s statement see:
http://dunes-action.com/pavilion_info/07/

8.  PAVILION LEASE AND THE SECRETARY'S STANDARDS
Between May 2012 and June 2014, the DNR negotiated a lease with Chuck Williams, now operating as Pavilion Partners LLC. There have been several versions of the lease and it has been amended three times. The lease also includes a requirement that any plans must follow the Secretary’s Standards. See:
http://dunes-action.com/pavilion_info/08/

9.  PAVILION PLANS
On January 13, 2015, Pavilion Partners submitted a set of drawings to the DNR. The plans proposed a rooftop facility as well as modifications to the interior spaces. The current plans, with the objectionable additions highlighted in yellow, are here:
http://dunes-action.com/pavilion_info/09/

10.  NO APPROVAL FOR ROOFTOP STRUCTURE
On January 28, 2015, Mitch Zoll [since deceased] of the DNR’s Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology gave approval for the Pavilion project in the form of a letter to Chuck Williams. This permit, which the DNR now claims gives the developer full authorization to rehabilitate the Pavilion, not only does not approve the rooftop structure, it actually prohibits the structure that is being proposed [emphasis added]. For a further review of this prohibition, see:
http://dunes-action.com/pavilion_info/10/

11PRESERVATION OF THE DESIGNED CULTURAL LANDSCAPE
Nowhere in the information made available by the DNR to the public regarding the Pavilion project is there any reference to the Pavilion’s cultural landscape. As noted above, the Pavilion, in addition to the structure itself, is surrounded by a designed cultural landscape. It has been completely ignored. Because of this, the West Plaza has been irreversibly damaged. The balconies, in addition to destroying the architectural integrity of the Pavilion, will have a deleterious impact on the designed cultural landscape. The proposed balconies should be eliminated from the project. None of these project elements are addressed in a Certificate of Approval. See:
http://dunes-action.com/pavilion_info/11/

12.  DNR LEGAL OFFENSES AND ETHICAL LAPSES
During the nearly ten-year history of this project, the DNR has not followed the intent of various laws and regulations. The DNR’s leadership has not used the skills and experience of their dedicated staff or the Historic Preservation Review Board, but rather has moved ahead on their own course, ignoring doing what is required and appropriate. A brief list of their offenses (based on over four years of research) can be found here:
http://dunes-action.com/pavilion_info/12/