The Osage Beach Board of Aldermen has taken the first official steps toward addressing the growing voice of disgruntled business owners on Osage Beach Parkway west of the Grand Glaize Bridge.
Aldermen have discussed the plight of business owners who say their income has declined significantly since the Expressway opened. The section of the Parkway from Rt. KK to Lazy Days Road has been especially hard hit as a recent informal survey showed more businesses closed or for sale than open.
The board of aldermen met in regular session last week, and Alderman Steve Kahrs offered a motion that was unanimously adopted after saying the continued loss of businesses is “a cancer” that could eventually affect businesses back to the Grand Glaize Bridge.
“Some businesses are 50 percent off,” Kahrs said referring to their income.
•Instructs staff to immediately contact MoDOT about the city’s concerns and intent to build a ramp in the area of Key Largo and ask for MoDOT’s cooperation in rights of way that it holds.
•Instructs staff to immediately contact the owner of Lake Medical Spa and other business owners in the Business Park near Executive Drive and Hawthorn Bank about the city’s concerns and intentions to close the current entrance off the Expressway and build a new entrance into the Business Park from Lazy Days Road.
•Instructs staff to approach the Lazy Days Home Owners Association about acquiring a section of ground between Lazy Days Road and the Business Park to build the new road.
•Instructs staff to come up with a cost estimate of the project and funding
•Instructs staff to immediately contact state legislators and other appropriate politicians up to get them on board with this project.
Kahrs asked for some type of response from city staff in the next 30 to 60 days.
He said creating a dead end for Osage Beach Parkway near Lazy Days Road has been “devastating” to businesses in that area because there is a “lack of easy access to Osage Beach businesses from the west.”
Kahrs said “the west side is where the city needs to grow,” and that the city and the board need to realize “there is a real problem on the west side.”
Aldermen Kevin Rucker and Fred Catcott were also vocal about the loss of businesses west of Grand Glaize Bridge.
Catcott, who attended a recent meeting of concerned west side businesses, said “we’ve go to do something; we need to give them some support.”
And Rucker, who was first to speak at last week’s meeting about the problem, said the city needs to convey a message to the businesses owners, MoDOT and legislators that the problem is serious and needs to be fixed.
Page 2 of 2 - “Who’s going to pay for this?” Rucker said in response to a question by Aldermen Lois Farmer. “I would hope MoDOT. But we need to get off square one and let MoDOT know we’re looking to them for a solution.”
He said the city needs to let business owners known “we’re behind them.” He said he has encouraged business owners to “rattle some cages.”
Alderman Ron Schmitt, who said it’s the city’s obligation to take the lead, said there used to be a belief that “we are Osage Beach and they will come,” but added “it isn’t so anymore.”