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The Lake News Online
  • Looking forward Camden County: Greg Hasty on promoting tourism

  • “From its inception, the Lake of the Ozarks was destined to become a place to come to for special moments in time. For children, its days spent on the lake in grandpa’s boat. As young adults, it could be a special someone you met at the lake. Often, for our seniors who retire here, it’s the opportunity to sa...
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  • It’s no secret: the Lake of the Ozarks is a major tourism area. Not only do thousands of people visit here for weekend getaways or extended vacations, but thousands are second homeowners who contribute to the local economies through sales taxes and property taxes.
    Despite that windfall of visitors, the lake competes with the likes of Branson, Kansas City, St. Louis, Eureka Springs and other popular Midwestern destinations for tourists. Newspapers, the Internet, magazines and billboards across the state are rife with enticements to get you to visit.
    But what do local economic development officials serving the lake do to capture the attention — and ultimately the presence — of people to our lake?
    What the candidates for Camden County presiding commissioner say:  What role, if any, do you see Camden County government playing in the marketing and promotion of Lake of the Ozarks as a vacation and retirement destination?
    Challenger Greg Hasty says:
    “From its inception, the Lake of the Ozarks was destined to become a place to come to for special moments in time. For children, its days spent on the lake in grandpa’s boat. As young adults, it could be a special someone you met at the lake. Often, for our seniors who retire here, it’s the opportunity to savor a lifetime of memories on the lake. The setting for all of this is the lake itself. The houses on the water, the eclectic places to eat and shop. This lake has always had a special quality to it. If you have been here for any period of time, you know what I’m talking about. This is what we have to offer, and it’s why people come. We must never forget that.
    “It’s my opinion; our local governments do not need to be directly involved in the promotion of tourism.  However, we do need to be working to help those groups that are promoting tourism, such as the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau. The groups at the state and local level are promoting our lake as an experience that you won’t find somewhere else.
    “My view is that the role of local government, as it relates to tourism, is to protect the special quality of our lake. While the first priority is the protecting the environment, there are other aspects that need to be protected as well. I’m concerned that we are becoming too much like everywhere else. If we continue to just plug-in ideas and plans from somewhere else, sooner or later, we’ll be just like somewhere else.
    “It’s the easy way out, to just take planning and land use ideas from other locations. It’s much more difficult to actually create a growth plan for our lake, which preserves the unique nature of our lake. This won’t be easy. It will take a lot of work from our very best. Some of the ideas of the past just won’t work for our future. Many of the ideas that work in other growing areas won’t work here. Without a Master Plan conceived with the idea of preserving what makes the lake special, we’ll gradually loose our identity.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Ultimately, tourism is about moments in time, which become fond memories. Good government operates quietly in the background, preserving the location and atmosphere for those memories. So while Camden County government may not take a direct role in the promotion of tourism, its role as protector of the lake is of paramount importance.  50 years from now, will we continue to be a place to go for those special moments in time? What we do today will decide that.  As Camden County Presiding Commissioner, my goal will be to plan a path forward that allows for controlled growth, while preserving the qualities that make us a special place.”

    *Editor’s Note: Candidate responses were not altered in any way. Candidates were asked to keep responses to a 500-word maximum.
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