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Bill Could Pave The Way For Alcohol At Indiana Dunes

A controversial bill could allow Indiana Dunes State Park to serve alcohol, despite previous rejection from the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission in October.

SB-188 would allow the Department of Natural Resources to apply for alcohol licenses for all state parks and would require the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to issue the permits without local board investigation and hearing on the application.

A developer called Pavilion Partners, LLC is attempting to get an alcohol license for the pavilion at the Dunes State Park. The license was rejected by a local board and then rejected again by the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. The developer is attempting to appeal the rejection.

Jim Sweeney is the President of the Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League and member of the Steering Committee for the opposition group Dunes Action.

"It's foreseeable that if their appeal fails, they could come back again with the state as the permit holder and actually circumvent any local review or any local opposition," Sweeney says.

Sen. Jim Merritt (R-31) authored the bill. He could not be reached for comment.

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