The first independent effort to collectively promote the west end of Osage Beach Parkway has been announced for the first week of October.

The first independent effort to collectively promote the west end of Osage Beach Parkway has been announced for the first week of October.

Passport to the Parkway could involve more than 200 businesses located west of the Grand Glaize Bridge with coupons, discounts, specials and information to help kick-start the sagging economy among those businesses. Dates are Wednesday to Wednesday, Oct. 1-8.

Organizer Joni Walden told the Osage Beach Citizens Advisory Committee recently that she and other business owners had been discussing the idea before the CAC was activated by Mayor Penny Lyons to seek solutions to the sluggish business environment. Walden, owner of Blinds & More, is enthusiastic about the unified effort.

“We hope people will be swarming the Parkway in hopes of winning big prizes all while learning how to navigate the expressway and Parkway,” she said in announcing details of the Passport project this week. “There will be shopping, dining and a week of family fun.”

The west end of the Parkway has seen a precipitous decline in business and property values since Highway 54 expressway was opened, since the Parkway was dead-ended as part of the expressway project, and after the Key Largo interchange was built. City of Osage Beach and Missouri Department of Transportation officials have scratched their heads for two years trying to find a solution to the “dead end” debacle.

While there have been several changes in directional signage, the problems have continued despite pleas from business and property owners for the city to get more involved. The mayor’s challenge to the Citizens Advisory Committee has spurred several short- and long-term ideas.

Passport details

Shoppers will pick up a shopping bag full of coupons and information at four locations to be announced later. Each shopper will be given a Passport to the Parkway which will include a map of the west end of the Parkway and the expressway. The location of each participating business will be marked on the map.

Shoppers will have to visit each participating business and have their individual Passport stamped to qualify for entry into a drawing for several prizes, which will be announced later.

“Having a shopper in a business to have his or her Passport stamped is an opportunity for that business to shine,” Walden explained. “It will be a chance to educate the shoppers about what products and services are available.”

Walden anticipates businesses will partner in the Passport experience. For example, Blinds and More has partnered with J. Bruner’s, also a Parkway business, to have the restaurant’s mobile onion ring station in the Blinds and More parking lot.

“This will create an air of excitement and fun, and we hope other businesses take the opportunity to do the same,” she said.

Walden said there would be promotional costs incurred to help make sure the event is successful, so each participating business will be charged a $100 participation fee.

The fee includes:

•An event yard sign

•The business location pinned on a map

•The business listed on a business directory

•The business will be mentioned when promoting the event when appropriate

•Businesses can provide a flyer, coupon or promotional item for the Passport bag

“That $100 investment will go a long way in promoting the event,” she explained. “This event was created by and is being organized by businesses in the west end neighborhood and the main focus is to promote all businesses in the area.”

More details, a list of participating businesses and prizes will be announced closer to the Oct. 1-8 Passport to the Parkway event.

For more information, contact Walden at