Tonight’s Osage Beach Board of Aldermen meeting could see something it hasn't seen in recent memory — a stand-in.

Tonight’s Osage Beach Board of Aldermen meeting could see something it’s never seen — a stand-in.

At issue is the growing controversy surrounding the Key Largo/Osage Beach West End/Expressway issue that has dogged the city of Osage Beach and MoDOT for months. Businesses on the west end of Osage Beach Parkway, with data to prove it, have suffered economically since The Expressway was opened last year.

Now, as MoDOT is preparing schematics on the latest proposal to address the traffic flow, safety and economic issues, the group of west end businesses and interested individuals is asking supporters to stand at the regularly scheduled board meeting as their names are read aloud.

“The more people who stand in support, the better our chances are of getting an agreement with the city,” noted local Realtor Mark Beeler in an email to west end property and business owners.

Beeler provided the city and the board of aldermen with real-time statistics that show how property values have declined along Osage Beach Parkway west of the Grand Glaize Bridge, and especially west of Rt. KK. He also noted that most of the foreclosures in Osage Beach are west of the bridge.

He has become a supporter of the west end business cause, and also send a letter recently to Mayor Penny Lyons and the board of aldermen in which he asks the city to consider an economic impact study before the city and MoDOT move forward with any construction project in the area

“Without question, the new road has had a negative economic impact on the property owners west of the Grand Glaize Bridge,” he said in his letter. “What we do not know is how badly the negative impact will affect city tax revenues, the property values along Osage Beach Parkway and what types of businesses will be attracted to the west end of Osage Beach Parkway if the current trends continue.  At this point a lot of assumptions are being made without seeking the advice and opinion of a consulting firm familiar with similar situations.”

The city, the west end business interests and MoDOT have bantered around several possible solutions to the decline in traffic on the west end of Osage Beach Parkway that many say has resulted in a severe economic downturn. An outer road, a slip ramp, stoplights, a major interchange and most recently a three-way slip ramp for Key Largo including a round-a-bout have been discussed.

Kim Loehr, owner of Interior Motifs on the Parkway and an organizer of the West End movement, said that “we don’t feel that the newly proposed roundabout offers the friendly merger that the prior slip ramp offered Aug 30, plus we would loose the west bound option from the Expressway to access the Parkway.”
When Key Largo was opened, motorists had four-way ingress/egress. The more recent option for a Key Largo slip ramp offered three-way ingress/egress, and the roundabout offers two-way ingress/egress.  

“When the roundabout proposal was brought forward by MoDOT during the Sept 20 meeting the floor was not open to public comment,” Loehr noted.  “Alderman Ron Schmitt said it well: ‘we have only taken care of half of the situation.’
We seem to be continuing backwards and not forward!  And for that my head Is spinning in disbelief.”

When the Expressway was completed, the west end of Osage Beach Parkway was closed. There is no thru traffic from that area to Highway 54/the Expressway, with the only access to the area from Rt. KK.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.