The following statement is from the Office of Mayor Duane Parry and the City of Michigan City sent out on Thursday:

Mayor Duane Parry, the Michigan City Council, and the Michigan City Parks Board have authorized its attorneys to proceed with the next legal step necessary for the City to take formal action to preserve and protect the dune area known as the “Esplanade.” The City has filed formal court action to clarify and confirm the City’s right to manage, oversee, and control the Esplanade dune area.

The City’s attorneys are sending out copies of the lawsuit to interested parties, including several property owners adjacent to the Esplanade, to advise of this action, which will provide a process to formally address any lingering questions, issues, or misunderstanding related to the City’s rights over and control of the Esplanade.

The lawsuit, known as a quiet title proceeding, is the legal process the City is taking to address any possible problems or lingering questions now or in the future regarding the City’s right to protect this important City resource according to Michigan City’s lead attorney, Keith L. Beall, with the Indianapolis law firm of Clark, Quinn, Moses, Scott & Grahn. Beall and his firm have been engaged by the City to pursue this endeavor to protect and preserve the Esplanade. The formal legal action will take several months, especially with the potentially large number of parties involved. The court process will allow all interested parties a right to present and address any legitimate issues and concerns. This is the continuation of the City’s efforts started last year to seek finality and certainty for all involved.

City residents have responded very positively and generally have supported the efforts to protect the Esplanade since the project was announced in 2022. The overall goal is to safeguard and preserve the public’s proper use of and access through the Esplanade to the beach areas.

Mayor Parry noted that “today’s filing is another clear indication by City leadership on behalf of the public of its role as a committed conservator of the Esplanade dune area. There has been enough confusion and questions that City leadership has decided it was necessary to choose a clear and definitive path forward on how to best control and manage this very unique and vitally important public preserve and asset.”