Property values, the economic quality of life and business will be diminished on the west end of the Osage Beach Parkway unless a full access intersection is constructed in the area of Key Largo.
That’s the conclusion of Phase 1 of an economic impact study conducted by Zanola Company, LLC, of St. Louis and funded by group of business and property owners with economic interests in the area. The group has named itself the West End Business and Property Owners Coalition.
Joe Zanola provided the board of aldermen and city staff with a brief overview of a 17-page Financial Analysis Forecast for the area west of the Grand Glaize Bridge. The coalition took the initiative to conduct a long-term study of the area, and hopes the city will fund additional phases.
An economic downturn on the Parkway west of Grand Glaize Bridge is partially blamed on MoDOT’s decision to close the west end of the parkway near Key Largo and Lazy Days Road. Information compiled by local Realtor Mark Beeler showed a dramatic decline in property values and an increase in foreclosures along the stretch of the Parkway from the bridge west to Lazy Days Road.
“We have a degradation of businesses from the Grand Glaize Bridge to the west end of the city and we believe that hasn’t been caused by the Expressway,” Neil Stewart, a developer and property owner, said recently. “While the expressway has exacerbated the problems, the economic problems run deeper. Businesses are in the tank as the result of economic times, and we believe there needs to be a study for the entire West End.”
Zanola, noting the initial phase of the study is a limited preview analysis, said the conclusion is that the “upside potential along the Parkway between Key Largo and Rt. KK will be vastly underachieved without a functioning, full access intersection at Osage Beach’s arrival point to the Lake of the Ozarks from the west.”
Key points supporting that summary include:
•Development – Positive location which likely has not been realized based on intersection limitations.
•Traffic – Extremely lower than anticipated in terms of traffic counts and share of traffic between the expressway and Parkway.
•Arrival – All opportunities are missed to signify the west end of the city has a major arrival point to the lake. Current signage signals caution and danger.
•Business – There is great and unique business potential along the Parkway between Key Largo and Rt. KK. This potential won’t be achieved without two fully functional intersections.
•Property – Diminishing property values is a likely trend, which is likely to result in undesirable uses that widely impact the city of Osage Beach.
•Intersection – Beyond the considered configurations there may be challenges inherent in the Expressway juncture, which may limit achieving the area’s potential.
“We see incredible potential for this stretch of road,” Zanola told the board. “There are missed opportunities with the book-end effect” of closing the Parkway on the west and signage issues on the east near Rt. KK.
Alderman Steve Kahrs said the summary “hit the nail on the head.”
MoDOT created the issue, and it’s MoDOT’s problem. “They devastated the area,” he said. “MoDOT has shown interest in fixing the problem, and I appreciate that. But they’ve failed their Mission Statement on the west side, and they should be held accountable.”
The city made no commitment to help fund additional phases of an impact study.