Osage Beach Parkway West study workshops have been so fruitful that a third meeting won't be necessary.

Osage Beach Parkway West study workshops have been so fruitful that a third meeting won't be necessary.

That was the consensus of about 30 business owners and managers and property owners and HDR consultants who met for the second time Wednesday night to discuss the future of Osage Beach Parkway West.

"We're in general agreement, strong agreement, that we're not sure a third meeting would be a productive use of time," Chris Kinzel, senior professional associate with HDR said. "There is a lot of consensus that after the first two meetings we have a good handle on what to do, what the community wants."

HDR, contracted by the city of Osage Beach to lead the Parkway West study, initially set three public meetings to gather input for making a final plan to be presented to the board of aldermen. The first was held in November. Kinzel said the level of public engagement and enthusiasm for finding solutions is more than he's ever experienced.

He put the question of holding a third meeting to Wednesday night's group, and the overwhelming consensus at 71 percent was to move forward with information already gathered.

"We'll refine what we've learned and then make a presentation to the board in January," Kinzel said.

The move to redevelop Parkway West -- from Grand Glaize Bridge to Lazy Days Road -- has been under discussion for several months after Alderman Jeff Bethurem proposed a physical renovation of the Parkway as a way to recapture business lost after the Highway 54 Expressway was completed several years ago. The board has moved beyond Bethurem's original idea to developing a board-based plan that dovetails with the city's Master Plan and that could also be adopted for the east side of the bridge.

City officials have stressed since the beginning of the Parkway West discussions that the public's input is needed for the project to be representative and successful.

 

 

Tough question

Toward the end of the meeting, Kinzel said he had a "tough" question to ask the group: Is the Parkway West community willing to help pay for any improvements to the west end of the Parkway through an increase in sales tax through some type of taxing entity.

The answer was an overwhelming "no" to any level of taxation. Fifty-two percent said they were opposed to any type of tax increase. Twenty-nine percent said they favored a quarter-cent increase, 8 percent favored a half-cent hike and 4 percent supported a three-quarter cent hike.

Kinzel noted that any plan developed from the workshop will have to involve both the city of Osage Beach and the community. He said a "champion" will be needed to take a leadership role in moving forward with a plan that could involve a variety of possible solutions.

 

Plan elements

HDR developed a draft scope of nine elements based on the first workshop and offered a synopsis of those results to Wednesday night's group. An electronic vote tabulation system allowed participants to indicate how strongly they agreed or disagreed with the assessments.

The draft elements and results of voting were:

•Public involvement activities with businesses and residents crafting a plan using resources such as public and stakeholder meetings, social media and web presence and MoDOT and the DNR.

54 percent strongly agreed and 39 percent somewhat agreed.

•Dress up the west end of Osage Beach with external appearances that create an impression. These could be Parkway resurfacing and striping, streetscaping (not medians), improvements to the Key Largo interchange, signage and landscaping, interchange aesthetics.

55 percent strongly agreed, 28 somewhat percent agreed.

•Long-term maintenance planning including weed control, pavement and sidewalk condition. Changes won't workout without ongoing mechanisms to ensure they are cared for.

77 percent strongly agreed, 19 percent somewhat agreed.

•Marketing the whole city including the west end, differentiating from other lake towns by identifying what's unique and spreading the word. This could be done by analyzing current marketing efforts, "smoothing out" the seasonality of the lake, explore marketing opportunities such as the Lake of the Ozarks State Park, develop a branding strategy for the city.

61 percent strongly agreed, 25 percent somewhat agreed.

Those who did not agree with the statement said Osage Beach needs to find a balance between the "east side" and "west side" of the city, yet focus on marketing Osage Beach as the place to be.

•Embrace Arrowhead Centre by exploring mutually beneficial funding opportunities such as signage, interchange beautification, find ways to connect Arrowhead Centre with the rest of the Parkway, explore cross-promotional activities.

43 percent strongly agreed, 29 percent somewhat agreed, 18 percent somewhat disagreed and 11 strongly disagreed.

•Explore economic development opportunities by conducting a market assessment of land-uses for a possible tourist/retail anchor, sports complex, more locally owned retail businesses.

54 percent strongly agreed, 32 percent somewhat agreed, 7 somewhat disagreed and 7 percent strongly disagreed.

Those who did not agree with the concept said it wasn't fair to provide new businesses with incentives while the existing business have built their businesses from scratch. The existing businesses did all the work themselves and they are the ones who should make a profit.

•Review of city regulations, policies and procedures to help make the west end of Osage Beach (and Osage Beach as a whole) better.

64 percent strongly agreed, 36 somewhat agreed.

•Develop a phase for plan implementation with a timetable and champions to take a citizen-driven leadership role.

48 percent strongly agreed, 33 percent somewhat agreed, 15 percent had no opinion and 4 percent strongly disagreed.

•Develop a clear plan document and explain it simply by summarizing the community's key assets and articulating the community's vision for the future.

48 percent strongly agreed, 40 percent somewhat agreed, 12 percent somewhat disagreed and 8 percent strongly disagreed.