As the November ballot approaches, Tim Jacobson, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Osage Beach Mayor John Olivarri were front and center at the Exchange Venue, taking questions and trying to sell their vision of what could be a 8-field soccer complex at the Lake of the Ozarks.

As the November ballot approaches, Tim Jacobson, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Osage Beach Mayor John Olivarri were front and center at the Exchange Venue, taking questions and trying to sell their vision of what could be a 8-field soccer complex at the Lake of the Ozarks.

In 2016 the CVB completed a two-phase feasibility study conducted by Convention & Sports Leisure (CSL) on recreational complexes. The study indicated the Lake Area could support a destination tournament soccer complex with 12-14 tournaments with 50-300 teams each weekend in the spring and again in the fall. It is estimated that this would have a $75 million economic impact annually for the Lake Area.

Jacobson opened the forum stating a few numbers that might help convince voters of the economic impact the fields would have. This included the fact that the fields would help bolster lake businesses in the shoulder seasons and keep a healthy stay-rate at the hotels and lodges through the tournament stay-and-play model.

Among the other highlighted project components included:
No tax increase for local residents (doubled hotel tax increase will pay bond), extension of employment opportunities throughout the lake, extended business opportunities in Spring and fall and more.

“For me, this is about more than soccer. This is about economic sustainability for out community,” Jacobson said.

Once the information had been set out, the night turned to over an hour of Q&As, with residents and business owners alike sharing their concerns and excitements for the project.

One of the main concerns raised was the worry of who would end up paying if the bond payments were to fail. Olivarri guaranteed that the bond would be payed out through the tax increases and said that no tax payer will have to pay any money towards these bonds.

Another resident raised a concern with the numbers provided. The number given by the opening presentation stated that between 50-300 teams would be seen at the complex per should season weekend and the question was raised as too if they should expect the lower or higher end of this range more consistently. Jacobson responded, saying that the size of the tournament at hand will play a large role in this number, but multiple CSL studies have resulted in these amounts. 

Members of the Westside came forward with concerns that the site, which will be constructed off Nickels Road in Osage Beach if the vote goes through, will not directly benefit Westside members with traffic or business. Jacobson responded, saying that with the stay-and-play model will directly benefit all lodges and hotels that opt in. By having families stay in the area which the hotel resides, businesses will naturally draw families looking for a meal or amenities during their stay.

Though many speakers throughout the night were looking at concerns with the plan, there were a number of residents looking to promote the idea. One resident asked Jacobson if the CVB had ever come up with a plan that would have as much of an impact as this at the same cost, and he says this is the best one they’ve found to be feasible. Another resident says that she has lived around the lake for life and looks forward to the idea, hoping that it will make a lasting impact on the lake as a whole.

The vote for the complex will be held November 5th. Residents looking for more informations surrounding the vote or the project as a whole can go to www.votelakesoccer.com.