Monday, May 11, 2009

Branson Airport Opens

Branson is ready for international flights as the epic opening of the airport south of Hollister launched this weeken despite some local politicos efforts to thwart the regional airport from opening.

One of the main opponents of the airport, Branson's current Mayor Raeanne Presley fought against the airport but took the spotlight during the opening ceremonies. Though Presley has repeatedly criticized the vision of Branson's former administrators, she was gracious in crediting former Mayor Lou Schaefer during the announcement of Air Tran as the first commercial airline to ink a deal to charter flights into Southern Missouri.

Employees of the airport applauded as the first planes landed carrying Branson Airport's investors and their families as they walked into Famous Dave's in the terminal which has a barn facade complete with a water wheel.

Note: Taney County deserves to give the airshow organizers and airport employees a round of applause for hosting the spectacular event which ensued through the weekend. Pyrotechnics, classic plans, the United States Air Force's best complete with explosions and aerial acrobatics brought crowds to Branson in record numbers.

Military personnel strolled the Branson Landing commenting on the beauty of the area some of which stayed to fix an F-14 which was grounded after technical failure.

We've heard the phrase touted by 417 magazine and echoed by residents, "This changes Everything'. But what does that mean?

Disney has officially stated that they wouldn't come to an area without an airport and perhaps, with 11,000 acres surrounding the airport, we could be ripe for another theme park.

Herschend Family Entertainment undermined Knott's bid for Celebration City which closed this year. As a result Branson's tax revenue will suffer this year. Unfortunately, members of our city council with personal interest in obtaining lobbyist funds hasn't publicly addressed the issue of the fiscal impact of the park's closing.

The privately funded 155 million dollar airport sits in a Transportation Development District (TDD) but is safe from the regional tourism tax which opens possibilities for increased economic development levies.

As conflicts of interest, incestuous business transactions and public funds are laundered for private use to help the careers of Branson Alderman, opportunities could open south. Northern Arkansas counties could easily usher in gambling as the Missouri Legislature is blocked from issuing new licenses in the state.

Hollister itself has a huge opportunity to burst into the 21st century tourism market if they take advantage of the limitations Branson current anti-business environment entails.

The airport makes Branson ripen for future convention business which will help generate theater ticket sales. For many, seeing a Branson show is an afterthought following a business endeavor which routes visitors to an overnight stay in downtown Branson.

The Branson Chamber of Commerce lobbied against a raise in minimum wage as the poverty of Taney County Businesses benefits some local businesses.

Perhaps, the greatest opportunity of all are new routes to bring positive change, new jobs and could open doors for residents most in need.

No comments: