If all goes as planned, shuttles providing transportation along the Bagnell Dam Strip could become a reality as early as June of this year.
If all goes as planned, shuttles providing transportation along the Bagnell Dam Strip could become a reality as early as June of this year. The shuttles would allow easy access to the Strip for visitors who could use off-site parking, locals who live off Highway 242 and employees using a designated parking lot along Bagnell Dam Blvd. The goal is to ease the parking congesting along the Strip.
The effort to bring the service to the Strip is being spearheaded by Lake Ozark Alderman Gerry Murawski. He has been working with business owners along the Strip to find a solution to the parking dilemma they face very year. Although Murawski is an alderman, the city is not involved in the plan.
“We have an issue. Customers drive by and there’s no parking. There has been new parking created but it’s not good enough,” he said. “This is a major solution to free an estimated 100 parking places.”
What Murawski is proposing and trying to get funded is a trial program that would use public transportation by small handicapped accessible buses to run during designated hours.
The route would be kept short running from the Dam to Port Arrowhead Lodge and Quality Inn. Turn-around time would be about 12 minutes.
Bus stops would include participating businesses. Advertising would be allowed on buses. Cost for riding would be $1 per trip or a daily pass would be $5 for visitors. Employees from business along the Strip would be given passes.
The service would start with 2 buses running 5 hours a day Monday through Thursday and on Sunday during the season. On Friday and Saturday, he said the buses would be kept running to accommodate visitors who want to stay late and employees getting off late shifts.
“This could be up and running in 75 days,” he said. “It would create a tourism experience. Visitors could check in at one of the places, grab a bus, head down to the Strip for a nice dinner, enjoy the view at the winery and not have to find a parking spot,” he said.
The buses could also provide an opportunity for the residents of Lake Ozark, seniors and workers, to use the buses to go back and forth to the Strip.
Right now, financing is the priority. The funding would be a combination of grants by the Tri_County Transportation organization and local contributions. It would be managed and operated by OATS Transportation. Murawski said. “It is an estimated annual total cost of $140,000. The private share of $70,000 would be raised by investments/donations from local businesses. It is said that every dollar of investment returns four dollars in revenue. Thus, making that a good investment” he said. “The collected money would go to the LOTH and could be used to offset future costs. Contributions are tax deductible.”
Murawski said raising funds is already underway. he and Dennis Klutzier have been visiting with businesses along the Strip, promoting the idea and collecting financial support.
How it would work:
•Employees could park at the empty public spaces where the old Arrowhead Lodge existed. Buses would run until 2:00 am to facilitate late night shifts.Lake Ozark Police could provide late night security. Each participating business could be provided with a pass for each employee. Owner or their managers could park on Strip to facilitate closing.
• Improved access to and from the Strip This would add to the Strip experience. Taking passengers to and from restaurants, winery, family friendly businesses (miniature golf and race track, hotels and marinas. It would be the link between the upper Strip (above HH) and the lower Strip.
• Access to and from Fish Haven Apartments and Senior Living Center. This would allow those living there mobility. Perhaps getting to work if their jobs are on the route, or just enjoying the businesses.
• Connect to the Tri-County Transportation system. The goal of the Tri-County Transportation group is to link most of the areas at the Lake.