On January 3, 2010, I posted a glum summary of published economic reports from Federal Reserve Banks in Kansas City and St. Louis and other sources from the metro areas that surround the Ozarks. My rough guess is that the economic activity in the Ozarks is primarily generated by the surrounding metro areas, which create demand for goods and services produced in the Ozarks, an idea that looks something like: Read the rest of this entry
Category Archives: Branson
This summer, people around the country will be seeing the movie version of Daniel Woodrell’s 2006 novel, “Winter’s Bone.” They’ll wonder if the movie shows life in the Ozarks as it really is. The movie was filmed in Taney and Christian counties in Southwest Missouri, during the winter of 2009. You can see the trailer and read a synopsis of the plot.
This movie, with its glowing reviews and big success at the Sundance Film Festival, raises a couple of interesting questions: Read the rest of this entry
With its infrastructure complete, the streets, water and sewer systems of Branson Commerce Park were turned over to the City of Branson today. This 200-acre development on the north side of Branson is designed for commercial, light-industrial and residential development. In the photo, owner’s representative Phil Lopez and Branson mayor Raeanne Presley prepare to cut the ceremonial ribbon.
The original developer of Branson Commerce Park took advantage of Missouri’s Community Improvement District (CID) statutes to finance the installation of streets and water, sewer and underground telecommunication lines. Rather than install the infrastructure in phases, with years of construction traffic, the digging and disruption is over, except for what takes place on each lot. The CID program as used here does not involve the use of any taxpayer outlays or liability. However, a portion of the cost of installation of the infrastructure is allocated to each lot annually, collected with property taxes and remitted by Taney County to the trustee for the bondholders. The bondholders, through the purchase of the CID’s bonds, provided the construction money.
The Branson area is a popular destination for vacations and retirement, with not many private sector jobs outside these industries. Branson Commerce Park provides an ideal location for enterprises that support Branson’s extensive medical facilities and its many resorts, hotels and restaurants.
But there’s more. Because of its telecommunications infrastructure, Branson Commerce Park is a practical location for businesses that can be wherever there’s a good electronic link to the world. Entrepreneurs and employees who are attracted to the Ozarks may appreciate Branson Commerce Park’s proximity and easy access to residential neighborhoods, shopping, medical facilities, K-12 schools, and Branson’s RecPlex.
It’s hard to argue with a new bridge.
The view of the existing bridge between Branson and Hollister is now a historical relic. A new bridge is being constructed now, as you can see below. Once the new bridge is completed, the old bridge (built in 1931) will be closed for major repairs before reopening in a couple of years.
The $7.4 million new bridge project is being paid for largely by so-called stimulus funding, appropriated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The rehabilitation of the old bridge is is financed from an $4.8 million earmark arranged by Read the rest of this entry
You know the story. The City of Branson gives a great deal to a private business to create an attraction on the Taneycomo lakefront. A few years later, the City doesn’t think the deal is working well for the City. The political winds have changed. Now there’s a lawsuit. Here’s how it went down, more than a half-century ago.
Jim Owen–not to be confused with the singer–played a major role in putting Branson on the tourism map. A consummate promoter of float fishing on the James and White rivers and tourism and commerce in the Branson area, he was unstoppable. Born in Webster County, Missouri (east of Springfield), he came to Branson in 1933, already experienced with public relations.
Soon Jim had built a movie theatre and started a float fishing business that got national attention and was also a banker and farmer. Some fine person posted this promotional silent film of one of his trips (11 minutes long) Read the rest of this entry
This morning, I scanned the headlines of Arts and Letters Daily, and was jolted by this:
Behold the regal rainbow trout, dappled denizen of deep lake and rushing river, fierce hunter of fish and fly—and prize of pork-barrel politics, invigorator of men, eradicator of native species, payload of numerous bombing missions.
Intrigued, I followed links to the webpage of Anders Halverson, the author of these words, whose book, An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How One Fish Beguiled American and Overran the World, has recently been published by Yale University Press.
I have accepted rainbow trout fishing as simply a part of the world as I know it. I live a couple of blocks from Lake Taneycomo, where almost every day of the year I wake to the sounds of motors on the boats of trout anglers. While the Branson entertainment business ebbs and flows, the trout-fishing business in Branson seems to be evergreen, though it requires that tax and permit revenues be spent for propagating the trout, enforcing regulatons, and protecting the quality of the fishery. My own fishing license bears a trout stamp.
As a child, I read Bill Potter’s annual accounts of the trout season’s March 1 opening day in the Joplin Globe, and the Missouri Conservationist’s articles about the Missouri Department of Conservation’s hatcheries and stocking programs for rainbow trout and the need to buy a trout stamp in addition to a fishing license to support these activities. School children in my home county were taken to the Neosho National Fish Hatchery, America’s oldest federal fish hatchery, it was said, for educational tours. The Missouri Department of Conservation stocked rainbows in Capps Creek, a short spring-fed tributary of Shoal Creek near my childhood home in eastern Newton County, Missouri.
Opening day at trout parks around the Ozarks, notably at Roaring River, Bennett Spring, Montauk and Meramec state parks in Missouri is a ritual for thousands. Shoulder to shoulder, in all kinds of weather, stouthearted anglers line the banks and tangle lines to catch newly-stocked rainbows and browns. Trout are stocked and pursued in various other cool rivers in the Ozarks, such as the White River below Beaver and Bull Shoals dams, the North Fork of of the White River, and the Current River. There are numerous private “trout farms” where trout are raised for sale to restaurants, some of which allow fishing. Trout fishing is economically important in the Ozarks.
Lately, I was aware that the Neosho fish hatchery was the beneficiary of a $1 million appropriation for a new visitors center and a solar water heater (to aid in the propagation of the pallid sturgeon) contained in the the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A visitors center itself doesn’t hatch fish, but the construction of it helps the Neosho economy, creates a few permanent government jobs, and builds support for the program. The Neosho hatchery obtains rainbow trout eggs from the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery in Branson and raises fingerlings which are transported back to Lake Taneycomo and other Missouri trout fisheries.
I guess I’ll read An Entirely Synthetic Fish and begin the uncomfortable process of reexamining something that I had accepted without much thought. I wonder where I’ll end up.
Pictures help to tell the story that lies underneath the disputed land titles at the north end of Branson Landing. You can click on these images to enlarge them. Here’s the 1913 plat of Park Addition to the City of Branson.
The southwest corner of the Belk building sits about where Sycamore Street joins what has been called St. Limas Street and Boxcar Willie Drive, now Branson Landing Boulevard. The platted lots in Block 4 of Park Addition were the location of resorts until construction of Branson Landing began. Mang Park, with a baseball diamond and swimming pool, occupied Read the rest of this entry