The welcome to Lake of the Ozarks sign is back in business thanks to the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce’s fundraising efforts and a generous business sponsors.

The welcome to Lake of the Ozarks sign is back in business thanks to the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce’s fundraising efforts and a generous business sponsors. 

 The monumental welcome sign stands high on the hill at the junction of Highway 54 and Route 242.   

The sign was in need of new lights and the large flag that has become a landmark needed maintenance. The repairs coincided with a fundraising effort on the part of the chamber to kickoff a fundraising effort for the sign and the nearby Welcome Garden. 

Back in 2011, the Hollywood style sign was a vision in response to the then new expressway that directed the majority of lake traffic heading south around a new route without viewing the Welcome Garden.  The project was the idea of the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and planning and fundraising began in 2011. A cooperative agreement with MODOT allowed the use of the ideal location for the sign.

The Lake Area Chamber spearheaded a community-wide effort to fund the sign, raising approximately $40,000 in in-kind contributions and over $58,000 in cash donations were received. In total more than 73 sponsors, businesses and individuals helped make the project move from the drawing board to reality. 

By the spring of 2018,  the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce put out a call for action to their membership seeking a business to take on the responsibility of maintaining the large flag located on the hillside just next to the LOZ sign. 

Kevin Murphy with Advanced Lighting immediately responded offering to take on this commitment for 5 years. 

Chamber Director K C Cloke said fierce lightning took out many of the lights leaving a questionable impression for motor vehicles passing by.   

“There was no “quick fix” about it, some extensive repairs were needed. Just after the Chamber temporarily turned the lights off they received a call once again from Kevin with Advanced Lighting offering to assist with the situation providing materials as cost and donating all labor involved,” Cloke said. 

Cloke said Murphy and his team did their due diligence in researching lighting that would be the best fit for this project and ultimately based on many deciding factors the new white lighting was selected.    

“ It is now thriving with bright white lights, and it is shining brighter than ever to welcome all who visit the Lake of the Ozarks,” Cloke said.   

The Lake Area Chamber can thank  Advanced Lighting for their partnership with this iconic landmark, she said. 

The welcome sign and the nearby Welcome Garden have become landmarks for the entire lake area. Both require contributions for maintenance and upgrades. 

The Welcome Garden at the intersection of the Osage Beach Parkway and Bagnell Dam Blvd. began in 1996 as a joint effort with the Lake Area Chamber and Lake Ozark Rotary club, together with the Chamber Active Volunteers to clean up the median triangle at the intersection.  The triangle was a littered eyesore before the joint cleanup effort.

From those beginnings the vision for the Welcome Garden was formed.  Once again, the Lake Area Chamber and the Lake Ozark Rotary joined forces in 1998 to spearhead the Welcome Garden project.  

Two key components contributing to the successful effort was MODOT’s agreement to utilize their right-of-way and a $6,300 Greenleaf Grant from Ameren. 

Both projects require continual maintenance and replacement expenditures.  The Lake Area Chamber is responsible for the funding and administration of all maintenance on both area beautification projects.  The Chamber periodically, approximately on 5-year cycles, seeks donations to build reserves for ongoing repair, replacement and annual maintenance.  An example of these types of expenditures is the new lighting on the Hollywood Sign, an expenditure in excess of $5000. The Chamber now needs to build reserves for such ongoing maintenance and repairs and ongoing expenses.

Anyone interested should call the Lake Area Chamber at (573)964-1008.